At a moment when many angry Indians are demanding that the rapists of a young woman who died this week be hung, one group encourages women to tackle social attitudes.
Among the many anti-rape protests that have been held in Indian cities over the past few weeks, something has stood out at a demonstration this week: Protest signs that didn’t cry shame or call for the death penalty, but pledged personal action.
“I pledge to intervene when I see a woman being harassed,” read one slogan on signs held by both men and women on New Year's Day. Another sign held by a young woman read, “I pledge to stare back.”
It is that long experience, says founder Jasmeen Patheja, that accounts for their unusual slogans. Amid the calls for better policing to prevent violent crime against women, the group wanted to also highlight how everyone contributes to – and can thus help change – a culture of sexism.
“It’s easy to blame the government and the police, but they also represent certain social mindsets, attitudes that we may be perpetuating,” Ms. Patheja says.