While sexual violence against women has taken centrestage across the nation, a slew of initiatives have been started by men over the last couple of years in the city. In fact, they have been working against gender-based violence and encouraging men to stand up against such cases.
One such example is YES i.e. Youth for Equal Societies, a project kickstarted by NGO Samyak to bring together young men and women from college campuses to initiate a process to fight harassment. The YES network has reached to thousands of college students and has a core active network of 200-odd students, who run various activities in city colleges.
“Through YES, we have formed small groups in various colleges who tackle issues like eve-teasing, violence against women and use novel mediums such as film screenings, social campaigns, exhibitions to put their message across to peers, said Anand Pawar, executive director, Samyak.
Another city NGO Equal Community Foundation engages young men and boys as a positive force in demanding women’s rights and end violence against them. For example, their graduate programme places mentors in low-income communities to mobilise men in ending sexual violence, realising role and value of women at home and in community and finally, drawing up a personal action plan to identify and reduce unacceptable behaviour towards women.
While Pune also saw the birth of Samanthesathi Apan Purush (SAP), a group of men from various organisations to fight violence against women, various bodies are now gearing up to be a part of the global One Billion Rising Project on February 14, 2013.
“It is a global project where on the said date, millions of people across the globe would rise against violence on women. As part of this project, many NGOs’ are mobilising communities to participate in the project where through song, dance or even a strike, we will say no to violence against women. Our NGO has mobilised men in 30 villages across Maharashtra as part of this project,” said Milind Chavan, spokesperson of SAP and senior member of MASUM.