SRINAGAR: Kashmir is all set to join the worldwide movement ‘One Billion Rising’ (OBR) on Sunday in a first of its kind event here.
OBR is a global campaign primarily by women which calls for an end to violence against women and gender equality. While millions of people across the world will be a part of this campaign on Valentine’s Day that falls onFebruary 14, the campaign is scheduled to be launched onFebruary 16 in Srinagar.
The event is organized by a group of youth that comes under the banner ‘Kashmir Youth Pulse’, an initiative providing space for discussions on various public issues.
“The name of the campaign is based on the statistic that every third woman is beaten, and with a total of seven billion people around the world, this translates into a grave reality of one billion abused women. If one billion women suffer worldwide, why can’t one billion people stand up for them? This is the aim of this event. Last year in more than 200 countries, people stood up. This year we are joining,” said Ejaz Ayoub, a social entrepreneur and core member of the Kashmir Youth Pulse.
The co-coordinators of OBR campaign India reached Srinagar on February 7 where they were joined by nearly 40 members of Kashmir Youth Pulse including youth, teachers, professors, lawyers, bank employees, engineers, architects etc. They then decided to join the OBR campaign on February 16.
“On meeting the coordinators, we requested some changes. Since the campaign originally is a protest through street dance on Valentine’s Day, we kept it limited to written word and art only. Besides, changing the date from February 14 to 16,” said Ayoub. The event is scheduled to be held at Srinagar’s Peerzoo Island restaurant.
The campaign calls for female survivors of violence to gather for justice and engage them in telling their stories through written word testimonies and art. The purpose behind the association with OBR, as per the organizers, is to bring to forefront various forms of violence against women in Valley.
“More than often issues of women violence are wished away under the carpet. What we want is that women come forward and document anecdotes from their lives highlighting the discrimination and injustice they suffer or have suffered,” added Ayoub.
Another organizing member Mantasha Binti Rashid says that acceptance of a problem is the first step towards curing it. “We live in a society which is very vehement about violence done by external institutions but also has a tendency to hide similar crimes by locals. This denial and silence is dangerous for a healthy society, and in order to acknowledge that violence against women takes place every day in our society, we thought of this step,” said Mantasha.
The written testimonies by the participating women shall be documented in the form of a book that according to the organizers will serve as an admission to biases and injustice towards women in a Muslim society.
“We are starting with documentation of stories of discrimination, injustice and atrocities which the female participants will write about. Later we will be formally releasing it in form of a book. The book will be the first step towards helping in providing all these women justice, f they wish their respective cases to be perused,” added Mantasha.