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So Damn Ready!!!

Hollaback! Kathmandu is so ready to kick start the Anti-street harassment week. Here is what we have been doing. Behind the scene for tomorrow’s board display in the core city space which is Basantapur Durbar Square.

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International Anti- street Harassment Week

Meet Us On the Street: International Anti-Street Harassment Week – a program of Stop Street Harassment –  is an opportunity to collectively raise awareness that street harassment happens and that it’s not okay.

Hollaback! Kathmandu is participating this year as well for the Anti- street harassment week. Our objective this year is targeted to the men and boys which includes awareness programs and asking them to educated others as well. The whole concept is not just to ask girls to fight back but rather create more awareness to the men to understand and to STOP.

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Here, is the infograph related the event that Hollaback! Kathmandu preparing for this year.

 

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Self Defence Session and Forum Theater

This post was published in Stop Street Harassment submitted by Hollaback! Kathmandu on December 10, 2014

The main goal of our project is to decrease the occurrence of street harassment in Kathmandu city. In the start of the month of October, we did an interactive program to discuss on issues about street harassment. About 15 people attended the event and we had a diverse group of participants ranging from school level students to even PHD research students. We asked the if they had ever faced street harassment or if they had ever witnessed street harassment among any members in their community. We also briefed them about our upcoming events. We also familiarized them with the website of Hollaback! Kathmandu and showed them ways that they could report their stories on the website if they ever faced street harassment.

The other event that we recently conducted was the Self Defense session at the Girl Power Conference which took place from the October 11 013 for the Third International Day of the Girl Child. Thirteen organizations including Women LEAD Nepal, UNESCSO, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, Equal Access, Restless Development, VSO, CARE Nepal, CWIN Nepal, PLAN Nepal AMK and Yuwalaya organized the three day conference with a theme of empowering the adolescent girls and ending the cycle of violence.

The Self Defense session ran in two parts that were an hour long. A total of 30 participants in each group were present in one session. More than 62 participants total attended from over 31 districts of Nepal. During the Self Defense session, the participants held an interactive session about street harassment and the things that they should do if they were ever harassed- such as filing an FIR. There was a mixture of both boys and girls adolescents. We explained that they could learn these self defense techniques so as to protect their female members of their community and teach these techniques to their peers when they get back to school.

When asked to the participants what the best activity was of the day, most of the participants said that they really enjoyed doing the self defense sessions since it re-energized them and involved a fun physical exercise. They said that now they really felt empowered themselves and would also share their learning about self defense and ways to deal with street harassment when they would go back to their communities.

Another project on the pipeline for our SSH project is the forum theater for which we have recruited around 10 volunteers who are willing to commit their time for the activity. The volunteers are mostly high school students. We have also decided to collaborate with an expert on forum theater from a theater organization here in Kathmandu who will train our volunteers for the theater project. After the training session is over, we will visit different sectors and perform the forum theater project. We will shortly begin the training and then visit various schools, colleges and universities to do the forum theater and also conduct workshops and sessions on street harassment.

Since the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is going to be held in December, we are also making plans for how we can use that time to effectively bring attention to street harassment.

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Kathmandu Fights Back

This post was published in Stop Street Harassment Site, submitted by Hollaback! Kathmandu Published on February 4, 2015

Harassment in the streets of Kathmandu has been so normal that it is almost taken for granted. Street harassment like cat calling and explicit evaluative commenting can lead to bigger psychological repercussions in the future. The main aim of our Safe Public Spaces project, ‘Acts of Defiance’ is to help make Kathmandu a safe space for people of all ages to live in. Hence, Hollaback! Kathmandu acts as a catalyst to encourage the victim to fight back and raise their voice against street harassment. Our project entitled ‘Acts of Defiance’ was divided into two phases.

Our first phase of the project, Forum Theatre was conducted in early January. The main objective of conducting the forum theatre is to generate awareness in an interactive a10952140_605234089622503_3108044618075147585_nnd participatory manner so that the students get a public platform to contribute their views and knowledge on street harassment and as well as inculcate the learning by doing methodology in them. The motive behind focusing on the youth is because this is the prime age to be aware about the dimensions of street harassment. The storyline of the forum theatre revolved around the scenario of high school girls and how they are subjected to street harassment on a regular basis. Through the forum theatre, we aimed to portray the life of a teenage girl on the street and on the public vehicle and showed the various kinds of harassment they faced every day.

We also wanted to exhibit their reactions to the harassment and the kind of reactions that bystanders showed when they saw someone being harassed. The drama was divided into two scenes and after each scene, the students were encouraged to come up with a better response –(both by the victim and a bystander) to the harassment scenario with the help of some brainstor10730843_605234076289171_6754021511467660702_nming.

The session was fun and informative for the students which opened them up to the live action of the happenings in the community. It worked as a driving agent which led students to talk about their past experiences and encounters. Moreover, the audiences were informed about the existing law of our country related to the harassment and it also encourage them to fight back and to stimulate critical discussions around the issue of street harassment.

There were other actions we took, too.

On December 5, 2014, Hollaback! Kathmandu conducted a Self Defense session for about 50 female refugees for UNHCR Nepal. The session was provided to the refugees from diverse nations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria and Vietnam. The primary goal of ouhir self defense session was to provide the participants with basic tips on how to defend themselves should they ever come across harassment in public spaces. We aim to equip the most vulnerable groups with the necessary tips so that they can defend themselves. Ayesha, a twenty- three year old refugee from Pakistan said, “It was a very new experience for us. Earlier, we did not know that we could use our body as weapons. But after the session, we learned to use our body as a weapon to protect ourselves.”

We  were featured in a local television media program on Social Advocacy to discuss on the issue of street harassment. The 30 minute interview session included different discussions on the situation of street harassment in Nepal and also threw light on the fact that street harassment is a global problem and that strict actions needed to be taken to mitigate it.

As part of the 16 Day Activism Campaign to End Violence Against Women, Hollaback! Kathmandu also organized a visit to the local women police station. The Police Center also has separate female constables to deal with the female victims of violence. Inspector Khadka said, “We try to solve the situation in a non-violent manner. If there is violence in a marriage, we give the husband a warning and try to settle the issue in a cohesive manner. We also provide counselling classes for men to sensitize them about gender. One of our volunteers, Aakriti shares her experience as, “Some of the new things that really amazed me was the fact that the police officials are not so cold-natured as we’ve heard about through other people. They were in fact very supportive when it came to issues regarding Women and Children.

Through December, we celebrated the Violence Against Women (VAW) Activism Campaign and conducted activities to aware the youths about the issue of street harassment. The session was led by our volunteers where a video related to women, violence was shown and the students were encouraged to have a discussion after watching the documentary.. In the VAW Session, our volunteers went across 9 schools and impacted 513 youths in total. Along with the informative session at schools and colleges, we also organized a #orangeurhood campaign where our volunteers made posters and youths from different backgrounds came together to support the campaign.
This had been an ecstatic ride for Hollaback! Kathmandu and we still seek for many ways to make the public spaces safer.

 

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New submission from Stella

A woman in a relationship is retepaedly raped by her partner. Because there is a pattern of rape and it is predictable that rape will keep occurring is she not responsible for removing herself from a dangerous situation? And, what about a woman who, in spite of being aware that she’s in a risky and potentially dangerous situation, chooses to get drunk or high thereby further diminishing her ability to be aware of danger and respond to a threat. Doesn’t she have a responsibility to herself not to get drunk in a dangerous situation? Answering Yes to this question does not diminish the victimizer’s responsibility.

I've got your back!
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“Kati ramri nani haru”

Few nights ago, I was walking aroudn thamel with a friend. I was having an amazing night, until a group of men standing outside a bar started cat calling us.  They said things like: aha kati ramri nani haru.” “kata gayirah?” “yaha ayera basa na hauu” . We both got really scared, and we trying to pass them without saying anything at all. I wish lot of these men would say something neutral like hello and let things go rather than saying shitty things to us. I was really angry for the rest of night, and couldn’t enjoy my night off. Thanks bastards. 

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Ayesha’s story

On my way into town,  every so often I would always feel some pressure on my waist while riding a micro. I used to look down every time, but nothing was there so I always ignored it. One other day, I was in the same micro. I sat down, and there was a man next to me. He had his hand on my waist and was squeezing me.  I turned around and he stared at me straight in the eyes. I screamed and yelled at him saying: k garya? uta gayera basnu. He kept saying sorry and moved. However, he looked very surprised as he moved.

I was shocked at what had happened that day and at my reaction to it. Looking back, I am glad that I stood up. However, I am surprised that no one in the micro did any thing. I’m still so angry.

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“Stop Telling Women to Smile”

Women are terrorized daily in public spaces.  Our personal space  is constantly violated by men who talk to us in  vulgar and insulting language, block our path and stand too close to us in public transportation.  Women cannot use public transportation, walk city streets, or go to school without being scared. Women are subject to the threat of street harassment everyday, and it is rapidly increasing. Due to street harassment, women are limited to work, get an education, or simply enjoy their own life.  An artist named  Tatyana Fazlalizadeh started an art project in the fall of 2010. Her art series focuses on street harassment and is in an ongoing art project that has drawn global attention.

Her project “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” includes posters that  portrays women sentiments towards street harassment. Her initial goal for starting this art project was to find out how women experience street harassment differently depending on where they live. According to her, street harassment , ” leaves women feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their communities, as if their sole purpose in leaving the house each day is to entertain men. It makes women think twice about what they wear, the routes they take, even their body language” ( CNN). She wanted this art project to help end street harassment. She has several pieces in this art project. One piece tells viewers, “You can keep your thoughts on my body to yourself”; another reads “Women don’t owe you anything.” This art series has been going around all over the world, and lot of activists are wheat pasting her art work in the walls.

 

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