In what might be a first for the city, a group of former harassers have turned over a new leaf and are now trying to sensitise youngsters against the menace of sexual harassment and violence against women.
With the help of an NGO Akshara, which is working to give women the right to work with dignity and free of violence, this group has formed a drama troupe that will stage a one-hour play titled ‘Chedchad Kyu?’ (Why harass women?) in colleges across the city to urge students to stop sexual harassment.
As angry citizens all over the country took to the streets to protest the increasing cases of violence against women, NGOs working for the welfare of women organised rallies in the city too.
Sushil Veer, a volunteer and graduate from Pendharkar College in Dombivali, said, “When I was in college, we used to tease girls and pass inappropriate remarks without thinking of the repercussions our actions would have. Looking back now, we realise what the girls must have felt about our remarks.” He added that only after coming in contact with Akshara did they find they had a platform to redeem themselves.
“Those taking part in the play realise now that they were wrong,” said Nandita Shah, coordinator at Akshara. “But with proper guidance, the youth can change. Through this play, we want to send the message: Don’t be a bystander, take a stand. We must stand united against violence against women.”
An experimental theatre group is helping the NGO stage plays on this subject, she added.
“We have already performed the play in some colleges across the city. We have tied up with most city colleges, and have also approached the college unit of the National Social Service Scheme,” Shah told DNA.
“This play is an entirely different experience. We are trying to send out a message to the youth to stop harassing women. We need to make people aware that they should raise their voice against any kind of harassment,” said Prasanna Molke, a graduate from Madhvi College, who is volunteering for the play.