Outrage is important, but not nearly enough. The response to violence against women and children, has to lie squarely in affirmative action. We call you to action now, and here is all that you can do to help secure justice for Ashifa:
You can also donate funds to The Wire, an independent media organisation that will be handing over all donations by users collected yesterday, today and day after, to the families of Kathua and Unnao rape victims. Needless to say, even a small amount will go a long way.
This petition on change.org has been initiated by a group of women from Jammu and Kashmir. While 'fingertip activism' has been belittled by many in recent times, we strongly believe in joining online communities and amplifying necessary voices in the digital space. Needless to say, online communities help strangers join together for a common cause, and that is urgent affirmative action now, more than ever.
There is undeniable strength in numbers. Assemble, demand, resist. Several citizens' protests have been happening all across the country, ever since the news about Kathua and Unnao broke out. There are many more coming up. Here are some that have been announced so far:
Delhi: Details here. Please follow the updates, or contact the organisers
Lucknow: GPO, Hazratganj. Sunday 15th April, 2:00 pm onwards. Please write to us in case you need updates
1. Sunday April 15th, Carter Road, Opposite CCD, Please write to us in case you need updates.
2. Happened at Azad Maidan, CSTM, Mumbai. 3.00pm, Friday, 13th April 2018.
Bangalore: April 15th Sunday, between 5 to 7 pm. People will stand at their own street corners across the city wherever they are, wherever they can at that hour with posters of an image for Justice for Asifa And/Or Justice for the Survivor at Unnao. Please write to us in case you need updates.
Chennai: Details here. Please follow updates, or contact the organisers
Bhopal: Sunday 15th April, 5:00 pm, Board Office Square. Please write to us in case you need updates.
Dharamsala: Sunday 15th April, 1:00 pm, Meeting point is Fawwar chowk, infront of Rajinder Dhaba. Please contact +91 8894933740 incase of any queries.
Chandigarh: Sunday 15th April, 4:30 pm, Sector 17 Plaza, Please write to us in case you need updates.
We request you to keep an eye on discussions on social media for further information on various forms of assembly to demand justice for Kathua and Unnao. At the time of publishing, a few events were formally confirmed, as listed above, and planning for several others, is underway. We shall update this article as and when we get more news. If you are an organiser and want to spread the word about your protest, write to us.
Justice is not catharsis, achieved through a few days of ardent political engagement. Justice is a bitterly-fought battle, the larger picture, the ultimate goal. Ashifa is not the first boiling point this country has witnessed. We will truly secure justice when:
1. We realise it's not just about Ashifa. It's about all children who have faced sexual abuse. Not because of the length of their skirts, not because they were out late at night, not because they were drinking, not because they were asking for it. But because rape is about power, about impunity and about toxic notions of gender roles.
2. We learn about systemic and State-sponsored violence against women. Women and children in conflict zones, tribal women at the heart of the country, and Dalit women everywhere-- they all have to be part of the conversation. These instances can not be overlooked, invisiblised. We cannot choose which women under which circumstances stir our conscience enough. Brutalisation of all individuals deserve our outcry. The time for selective outrage was over yesterday.
3. When we stop participating in "harmless" rape jokes and sexist jokes, and basically, grow up.
4. When we acknowledge the layers of oppression women and children are subjected to on a daily basis, compounded by issues such as caste, minority community, sexual orientation, age, class etc. Rape is not 'women's issues'. All issues are gendered-- religion, nationality, caste, poverty, mobility, anxiety.
5. When we, basically, stop pretending that all is well with the world; that the 'gender problems' have solved themselves just because some of us, in our little echo chambers, have taught ourselves not to be sensitive to the infinite ways in which patriarchal violence plays out. When we see that we are complicit, complacent and often incorrigible. When we stop being indolent. When we are ready to scrutinise the privilege upon which our very identity rests.