Women’s safety is one of the biggest issues in India today. Sexual assault cases that once went mostly unreported and were tolerated as an inescapable evils of the society, are being spoken about and dealt with severity.  However, much more needs to be done in order to change the mindset of the people, especially Indian men.

 

Taking a step in this direction, two young men from Mumbai- ad man Nishant John and Doha-based designer, Abhishek Jayaprakash started a social media campaign with the hashtag #whyloiter.  They asked women all over the country to send in pictures of themselves loitering around the streets, having fun; and received two million responses.

 

According to a report by the Times of India, after attending a public lecture by sociologist Shilpa Phadke, co-author of the book “Why Loiter?: Women and Risk on Mumbai Street,” Nishant John was particularly moved by this idea. This inspired him to start an initiative promoting a woman’s right to loiter on the streets.

 

Why Loiter Campaign ad Picture By: Youth Ki Awaz
Why Loiter Campaign ad
Picture By: Youth Ki Awaz

Even though the commercial rates for such an ad campaigns are around Rs 15 lakh, this campaign, was designed free of cost. Phadke told TOI, “In the last two years we have seen a lot of men and men’s groups actively fight against violence against women in public but much of it has been in the language of protectionism. It’s fabulous to have two men who really get the ideas of our book, partner with #whyloiter.”

 

She added, “Loitering and access to public space is not just about women but about everyone because the claim we are making is an inclusive one for women and all marginal citizens to access public space as a right.”

 

[Feature Picture Courtesy: Why Loiter]

ORIGINAL SOURCE: Times of India