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16 Days Activism campaign against gender based violence in Assam

  • Assam

On the occasion of 16 Days Activism which is an annual international campaign that starts from 25 November until 10 December (also, Human Rights Day) for the elimination of Violence against women and girls. The global theme for the year 2021 was against Gender- Based Violence, and the theme on which they reflected upon was “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”. Almost 6000+ organizations at 187 countries have participated in the Global 16 Days Campaign since 1991 reaching 300 million people.

The 16 Days campaign was initially formed for the international women’s movement. Since the 1970s, the women’s rights networks had been growing and facilitated in various part by the UN World Conferences on Women. Feminists had to fight for decades to secure the mere recognition that violations of women’s rights and on women were not simply private acts outside the state, but it is considered as a violation of human right under the law.

So, on the occasion of the 16 Days Activism, Bodhana an NGO headquartered in Guwahati has conducted various programmes to send a message to the society regarding violence against women and girls in various parts of Assam like Bokakhat, Barpeta, Amguri, Nagaon, Kohora and Guwahati. Throughout these sixteen days Bodhana in collaboration with Project Maanush Assam (MAVA), Jagori Grameen and One Billion Rising conducted several events such as Midnight Walk, Painting Competition, Self-Defence training for girls, Mural Art, Film Screening and Cycle Rally.

The Midnight Walk was held on 25th November, in which the women and girls were invited to walk at midnight to mark their presence and importance on the street while spreading a message that women too can freely walk after dark and avoid rape and molestation. The Painting Competition was held on 28th November and the theme of it was “Toxic Masculinity” for students to express their concern through colors and images how we find violence in the process of patriarchy that is embedded so precisely in our households. The Self Defense training had been going on from 29th November till today and was conducted by Project Maanush mentee, Pulak Pegu who wishes to make the little girls aware of the violence that one faces in their day-to-day life so they can be safe in the society filled with eyes of prey. Another important activity of this 16 Days Activism was Mural Art that was drawn by Rishiraj Nath which illustrates that women are the victims of the society constantly in surveillance of men.

The Film Screening program was held at Ethnic Cocoon, Bokakhat in two shifts, in which the college students were shown two short films Daaravtha and Devi, which portrays a story of a transgender and Devi shows about the rape victims and how we look upon them avoiding them to be a part of the society secluding them to be an outcast. The second half was for special women dignitaries from different sections of the society who were shown Fireflies: Jonaki Porua, which is a movie based on Transwomen and the session was followed by conversation over tea and some musical performances by the women. The last event of the campaign was the Cycle Rally along with a street play which was held at Kohora today. The cycle rally started from 6:30 am from Bokakhat to Kohora which marks the end of the 16 Days Activism campaign.

These activities and events conducted were a depiction of how we send our small contribution to the society for the change we need in our lives. It can be through entertainment, art or a conversation. These things do matter so that we can build a better future for any gender in the society irrespective of any caste, class, gender, color, ethnicity, religion, etc.

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