Hundreds of women and men came out to support the rights of women to ‘go out’ – they gathered and walked from Bengaluru City railway station to Freedom Park on Saturday, shouting out loud: #IWillGoOut. And, why wouldn’t we? I was part of the movement and proudly so.
This campaign kickstarted in the Indian context following the outrage at the Bengaluru’s mass molestation. Women from across the country joined together in a nationwide protest march to raise the awareness about gender sensitivity. It was timed to converge with the global Women’s March in Washington, which started off as a protest to the new American President Donald Trump but became a larger movement about gender rights.
Over 20 cities and towns, including Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Puducherry, Silchar, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bhopal, Udaipur, Kochi and Karimganj participated in the march.
The protesters signed a petition in the state, demanding safer public spaces for women and children in the city.
“It has been too long that women have not stood up for what they deserve, and if that does not happen now, it will never happen,” said one of the organizers. “There is a need for more CCTV cameras, gender sensitizations, prepare institutions to change the misogynist mindsets of people and so on,” said Tara Krishnaswamy, one of the organisers to Bangalore Mirror.
At the event, Suhas Bhat said, “Patriarchal influences have seeped into our consciousness. Change will take time but such events will bring change closer.”
Magsaysay Award winner Ruth Manorama said: “When men talk about women’s attire, I feel women are kind in not taking their pants off! We’re only asking for our rights and safety as citizens. Why is it so difficult for the government to ensure our safety?”
Sharon Otmar from Brooklyn, who moved to Bengaluru seven months ago, said to TOI, “Stupid people do stupid things everywhere. There’s a lot going on in the US too. Bengaluru breathes so much culture. I love Bengaluru.” Nonetheless she agreed, everyone needed a reminder on basic things such as safety for women and these marches were a great way to do so.
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