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
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!
Please read: BREAKING THE SILENCE