An Appeal to ALL MEN to Join the #1billionrising Campaign


Members of Forum to Engage Men (FEM) are shocked and upset over the never ending stream of reports of violence against women in our society. While the secondary status of women in a male-centric world has been an issue of concern, the extent of brutality and sexual violence that is increasingly becoming evident makes it extremely important that all sections of society, especially men, stand up, resist and react against all such violence acts. Satish Kumar Singh Convenor of FEM and Deputy Director of the Centre for Health and Social Justice says “When I see or hear any incident of violence against women, I feel hurt and vulnerable because of my inability to stop the incident. Today there are various studies that show that nearly one in every three women will be beaten, harassed or raped in her lifetime. This is a very large number. Although not all men are perpetrators, most if not all men remain silent and do not speak out against this violence. We believe that all the men who are not speaking out against Violence Against Women (VAW) end up as contributors to this violence by silent endorsement. There is a serious need to challenge our role as the silent spectator. All men have to speak out and oppose VAW. It is the biggest crime and human rights violation on earth and the responsibility of ending VAW cannot be put on women’s shoulders alone.”

The One Billion Rising (OBR) movement is a collection of global voices, rising on 14th February, 2013 to stand up against all the atrocities against women. This call resonates with the stance of FEM that deep seated gender inequalities and patriarchal notions of masculinity allow these atrocities to happen and go unchallenged. FEM believes that men also have to take a leading role to eliminate such practices.

Anand Pawar, executive director of SAMYAK an NGO in Pune, is taking a lead to mobilise men across the state of Maharashtra to stand up and be counted on the occasion of the One Billion Rising campaign. He says, “While working with men is becoming one of the key approaches in the development sector, many of these initiatives are not necessarily informed with feminist perspectives and practice. These remain technical and their analysis of patriarchy is superficial. OBR provides an opportunity for men to participate in a campaign lead by women’s groups and understand feminist perspectives in organising protests against violence against women. It is very important that men across the world stand in support of OBR.”

Members of FEM have been working to stop Violence Against Women in different parts of the country. Notably in UP, FEM members of MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against Women) have been protesting against VAW along with women’s groups over the last decade. On 14th February, members of FEM in different parts of the country, will be rising on the occasion of OBR to make ourselves be counted in the struggle for gender equality. We call upon all men and boys who want such atrocities to end to join us.

For more information contact: Dr. Abhijit Das (9871713314)

Satish Kumar Singh (9910589201) Phillip Perl (9818562923)

FEM : Forum To Engage Men and Boys for Gender Equality

(www.femindia.net)

Secretariat : CHSJ, Basement of Young Women’s Hostel No2, Avenue 21, G Block, Saket, New Delhi 1100117. Ph.:011-26511425, 26535203

#India- Immortalising broken wings #dance #Vaw #Justice #1billionrising


TANUSHREE GANGOPADHYAY, The Hind Jan 18,2013

Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart and Indian dancer Mallika Sarabhai.
Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart and Indian dancer Mallika Sarabhai.

A dance to commemorate women battling gender violence.

 If music be the food of love, play on, wrote Shakespeare. Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart’s music comes from her love for all the “assassinated” women of the world, whose memory she wants to honour. As she plays she asks listeners to “come light a star in the memory of a woman or girl you know who was killed. Give her name and we shall together build a celestial memorial for her”.

Elizabeth is as good as her word. Recently in India, she described her project ‘Women with Broken Wings’: “There are so many war memorials the world over. All of them are for men. There’s no space to commemorate the billions of women whose lives are snuffed out, who are raped or are victims of other kinds of gender violence.” Her memorial (womenwithbrokenwings.org) strives to raise global consciousness on crimes against the women “whose wings were broken. With this simple action, we shall help remember and bring about a change.” She relates a poignant story of a Lebanese teenager who had expressed her admiration for the Web site. Ironically and tragically, a month later she became a victim of honour killing by her brother.

In the backdrop of the murderous gangrape in Delhi recently and the fury in its wake, Elizabeth’s collaborative ballet with renowned Indian danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, director of the Ahmedabad-based Darpana Dance Academy, comes at the right time.

Titled ‘Women with Broken Wings’, it premiered in Ahmedabad last fortnight. Pointing out that violence against women remains unabated. Mallika says her experience of three decades had convinced her that more than “serious talk” cultural programmes worked better in raising public consciousness. Her dance, accompanied by Elizabeth on the piano, portrays the 11 states of mind of the assaulted woman — birth; discovery and exploration; the inner and outer worlds; unknown fears and self-discovery; betrayal and breakdown; lament; fleeing and failing; the soul’s cry; the march of the martyrs; consolation; and, finally, the way forward.

The performance, choreographed by Yadavan Chandran and Mallika Sarabhai, held the audience spellbound. One vignette depicting carefree childhood, where Mallika enacts a girl playing hopscotch, is particularly poignant. Elizabeth’s rendition of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 17The Tempest, was apt for the section ‘Unknown Fears and Self-Discovery’. Her interpretation of Chopin for both ‘Betrayal and Breakdown’ and ‘Lament’ was truly extraordinary. The ‘March of the Martyrs’ was followed by silence in a mark of respect. The performance ended on a positive note, with ‘The Way Forward’ exuding hope.

The work resonated perfectly with the One Billion Rising (OBR) international campaign against violence spearheaded by renowned playwright and actor Eve Ensler. As Mallika explains, “Our common interest got us to collaborate and participate in the OBR campaign.” She now plans to organise a garba dance by over 20,000 people, including children, to mark the culmination of OBR on February 14, also celebrated as Valentine’s Day or the international day of love.

“Since the OBR call is to dance against violence, garba is the most relevant in Gujarat, and artists will compose songs for us. Every woman here dances it during Navratri. Gujarat is a State where hundreds of rapes take place, where innumerable women are burnt because of dowry, and where violence on women is rapidly increasing. This is also a State where lots of villages are without girls because of rampant sex-selective abortions. We need to end this genocide and gendercide urgently, and we are using our abilities and art to do this,” she says.

The ballet performance in Delhi last week was followed by Eve Ensler’s dramatic rendering of vignettes from her play I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, at an event hosted by Sangat, which is coordinating OBR’s South Asia campaign. The ballet next travelled to Chandigarh (Punjab) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).

Delighted with the collaboration, Elizabeth stresses that there is no place for ego in music: “I dedicate every note to each woman who has suffered violence, and there are at least 100,000 notes in a ballet like this. So I believe I am honouring 100,000 women each time I play it.”

© Women’s Feature Service

 

 

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