Take Back The Tech: Let’s Start With Breaking The Silence

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Photo Courtesy: TBTT Digital Post Cards

Today, 25th November 2010, marks the first day of 16-days of activism against gender-based violence. A campaign we call “Take Back The Tech”, TBTT is a collaborative campaign using ICT to fight gender-based violence. I became a part of the TBTT team last year, when a friend and an inspiration Jehan Ara introduced me to it.  For me humanity is the core and foundation of everything I do and belief. I believe that regardless of our gender,race,ethnicity and religion  we all must stand united against all kinds of violence; as humanitarians.

So how do we use ICT to fight Gender violence?

This is one question that we kept asking as we began working on the campaign itself. The answer is rather simple: We use these tools to talk about various forms of abuse, discrimination, attitudes or cultural/religious practices that lead to violence. We try to give a better understanding of the term violence, which unfortunately has been limited to physical violence only. Highlighting several aspects violence itself allows people to identify and react accordingly. Many a times, we see people putting up with extremely abusive relationships, failing to realize that psychological and emotional abuse is much more damaging. What’s worse is that our general perception of violence being limited to physical violence, allows the abuser to manipulate and get away with all kinds of abusive behavior; until it’s physical.  What we need to understand is that, psychological abuse is far more damaging, it cripples a person’s self-confidence, restrain and most of all it makes one vulnerable to even more abuse; often severe.

However little it may seem, the first and most important step to put an end to abuse is: Breaking the silence

Did it work for you?

Yes it did. Breaking the silence, even if it was limited to introspection, it helped me deal better with various forms of abuse or

Photo Courtesy: Shamelessmag.com - Jacqueline Hudon

harassment that I faced. Unfortunately, harassment or abuse is not a new phenomenon, so it is not rare that we often experience it.Even if it is limited to a reluctant “NO”, sense of realization that “I do not deserve this” or a much more powerful “NO MORE”. Each and every step is just as important. And since I believe that, Breaking the silence, is so powerful and crucial it needs to be more than just a thought. My partner Naveen Naqvi, a renowned broadcast journalist and a brilliant writer, and I have been working on one such concept, the central idea is breaking the silence. Gawaahi.com will serve as a testimony of unspoken abuse, it will break the silence and become a staunch reminder of the plethora of abuse that exists around us; shoved under the carpet. It will bring out stories of those that have suffered yet remain invisible, most of all it will challenge the mindset which has allowed some of the most heinous forms of abuse to thrive, becoming unnoticed and unspoken taboos of our lives.

So let’s start with talking about the unspoken. You can be anyone anywhere talking about your own experiences, of those around you or just your perception in general. We need to hear from you, we need to start talking  now more than ever. Wherever you are and whatever medium that may suit you, remember breaking the silence is the most crucial step towards putting an end to abuse and abusive behavior. So talk/blog/tweet/write/draw and join us in breaking the shackles of silence that encourages abuse.  More power to us!




Know about Gawaahi.com? Want to help us give voice to the voiceless, speak out against injustice? Or just celebrate our voices? Join us!


6 thoughts on “Take Back The Tech: Let’s Start With Breaking The Silence

  1. Hi sana,
    I’ve tried sending e-mails to the address you’ve specified on your blog, but I haven’t received a reply yet. I understand that you must be busy with IYCF, but I’d really appreciate it if you’d confirm that you still use this address. I need your viewpoint on the IYCF for an article I am writing for Reza Aslan’s media house in california.

  2. What you are doing or striving to achieve is marvelous, I must say, but we should not forget the roots from where it all started. If you see people, who define your society, you will notice they all have one common problem which you also have mentioned and I will put it in different notion. According to my perspective its lack of knowledge seeking, not questioning at all, believing with closed eyes and accepting everything as if it has been written for them. So where it all began, it seems to be the problem of everyone and its everyones responsibility to start mending the part of society fabric which they are holding. Many of our youth is as dumb as our leaders want them to and you are fraction of the fraction that seems to have some sanity. So what we are doing or have been doing is not enough. We have to take some concrete steps and dig to the root. For me the problem starts from grass root level, from the first answer or the first time a child is being reprimanded. And when this child grows to be a young individual he has been trained not to ask and accept all circumstances, as everything is by the will of Allah. We need a lot more to do and search more for the actual process failure root like in terms of control system when you identify the root that may astray your system from stability, you just need one zero to cancel it out, but first you have to find out the root. I really hope you being very much into all this social work, which I wish to be part of, must have known very well but this point lagged in your writing. No one ever tells a child what his rights are even its his right to know so how can you suddenly change all of the life time training in just couple of motivational speeches. We cant jump this huge pit, we have to make some bridge and for that bridge we need to prepare the foundations.
    I wish you good luck with your campaign and may people open up to let others know to spread awareness.
    May Allah pull us away from the ignorance towards the bright knowledge.

  3. its right that most of the times we ignore the wrong going around us and that creates most of the harm. especially the society and culture we are in the silence is first and the last way to go for many of those who face such violence every single day. and this is unfortunate enough to create massive disaster that lead one to break the silence. it is good to break the silence before such time.
    i think this gawahi.com is a good idea and i appreciate you and naveen ma’am for this. as i am always available and open to work for such things that can do something good for the people around therefore it will be an honor to work with this idea. so please do let me know if i can do any thing, who knows that i might do something good to anyone.

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