Dear Breakthrough and Uber,
We read about your newly launched ‘#IgnoreNoMore’ campaign that encourages bystanders to be vocal about violent activities against women. We believe this move will be instrumental in harbouring the change it is supposed to make. To begin with, we would like to thank you for coming up with this powerful and fantastic initiative that will send the message to all bystanders — that sometimes, they can become the change-makers the society needs, and the support a survivor or victim requires.
As leaders of Utthan, a survivors’ collective of trafficked victims, we have faced a lot of domestic violence and societal stigma, and the worst part of it all is that we’ve found little to no support from the people around us — ones who were witnesses to the violence. They would act as mere indifferent spectators to what transpired and would pass it off as a sad story.
We have come across many such cases where the wife was being tortured by her family, and the people around her, despite having seen and heard about it, had turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the entire violence. The bystanders here feel that their involvement might lead them to fall into trouble as a result of being associated with the incident, and what do they do? Just like everyone else, they too end up victim-shaming, stating that all of it is their fault. Quite interestingly, we have seen that if anyone protests against the injustice, even more violence is meted onto the survivor.
But Utthan understands the very crucial role that bystanders have to play whenever such acts of gender-based violence take place in public spaces. We are well aware that the day they start intervening in such incidents, domestic and public violence, and the stigma around it would be thrown right out of the society’s door.
As a group of survivor leaders, we will be more than happy to provide any kind of support required in this campaign. Also, we would want this movement to extend to our villages and communities so that more such spectators step up and become change-makers in the society. Bystanders turning to supporters and being a source of strength for them is what this campaign is about, and we celebrate such a unique enterprise that will involve the community and unite them with the survivor. The resultant product will then be a united stand against discrimination and violence.
Once again, we salute Breakthrough and Uber for bringing about a strong force of change in society through this campaign, and we offer all our best wishes for the same.
In solidarity and offering energy to the campaign,