Girls chalk up a victory in the fight against street harassment at Dilli Haat
To rally support and action for girls who are time and again subjected to eve-teasing and street harassment, around 100 young women in Delhi came together at Dilli Haat to raise awareness on safety issues on streets through a Chalk Back event. The event intends to raise awareness and generate a global dialogue both on the streets and on social media about the importance of putting an end to street harassment. The girls are part of Plan India's Safer Cities Programme which works towards building safe, accountable, and inclusive cities with and for adolescent girls.
Girls and young women during the event documented the harassment they've been subjected to in public spaces by writing them in chalk on streets and pavements as part of a collaboration between child rights organization Plan India and anti-street harassment initiative Chalk Back.
A similar activity took place in three global other cities i.e., Nairobi, Kampala, and Cairo to mark the 16 Days of Activism that started on November 25, 2019, and ends on December 10, 2019, which is also celebrated as Human Rights Day. The call is against gender-based violence. 16 Days of Activism is an annual campaign calling for the elimination of violence against women and girls around the world.
Speaking on the initiative, Anuja Bansal, Executive Director, Plan India said, "Street harassment directly impacts a girl's day to day activities, right from affecting her concentration on studies to the fear of using public transport. The Chalk back event in Delhi today is an effort from Plan India to draw much-needed attention to this global issue. Participating in such initiative, Plan India hopes to reach out to every community to help tackle unequal power relations and challenge harmful social norms that perpetuate insecurity and exclusion of girls in cities.
Girl Changemaker, Savita, who took part in the Chalk Back activity said, "It is only when girls are able to move out of their homes, and experience the world around them without feeling unsafe, will they realize their potential and lead a fulfilled life."
The Chalk Back action is part of Plan's global campaign Girls Get Equal which is about ensuring every girl and young woman has power over her own life and can shape the world around her. Making sure every girl is able to live freely and without a threat to her safety is central to the campaign.
The Chalk Back concept is the brainchild of 22-year-old New York-based university student Sophie Sandberg, who began posting real examples of eve-teasing in her city on the @CatcallsofNYC Instagram in 2016. Since then, the idea has blossomed into a youth-led movement against gender-based harassment in 150 sites across global cities. Local activists chalk, organize community events and raise awareness on issues of harassment.
Sandberg, the founder of Catcalls of NYC and Chalk Back, said: "Chalk Back encourages young activists to come together and raise their voices. As girls, young women and LGBTIQ+ youth, we have put up with sexual harassment for too long. Partnering with Plan International will allow us to reach new young activists around the world, hugely amplifying the efforts of our grassroots activism."