Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Campaign for the Prevention of Harassment of Women in Public Transport

Chivalry is dead no longer! Young men in the city of Colombo decide that the time has come for them to stand up and promote the respectful treatment of women. They have decided that they will not turn the other way, they have decided that as young men they will S.H.O.W. values and principles that are not practiced or conveniently forgotten. They have decided that they will S.H.O.W. how a man ought to conduct himself, they will S.H.O.W. their mothers and sisters who have experienced harassment at the hands of other men, that they are different. They have decided that they will Stop Harassment Of Women and be the agents of a positive change that will alter our society’s general acceptance of behaviour that is nothing short of despicable. These young men invite you to join hands with them and S.H.O.W You Care!  

Lanka Unites is a youth reconciliation movement led by a core team of young professionals drawn from all ethnicities working in various fields. Lanka Unites aims to unite youth of all ethnic and religious groups across Sri Lanka giving youth the powerful potential to work towards sustainable development, peace and prosperity. It is with this objective that Lanka Unites focused on the pressing issue faced by women in our society and decided that permanent change could be hoped for if revolutionary young men ensure that women feel safe, especially when they commute in public transport.

The campaign S.H.O.W You Care will involve boys representing many boys’ schools in Colombo and will run from 25th – 29th June from 1:30pm onwards in all bus routes in Colombo. Three students each will board the buses according to a formulated plan and address the passengers in all three languages: firstly, apologising to all women for any incidents of harassment they may have encountered in the past, handing out leaflets highlighting the legal recourse available to women if they experience such treatment, making a general statement of the right of women to be treated respectfully and the men taking the responsibility to safeguard this right and the negative reflection on them, if they fail.

A pre-campaign meeting will be held on 21st June at 1:00pm at the Viharamahadevi Open Air Theatre for mentors/volunteers followed by a gathering of all the young men participating when the purpose/objectives of the campaign and clear instructions will be communicated. They will also hear real stories of young women who have faced harassment in public transport and realise that their very own family members will continue to suffer, if they don’t make a stand today.

Harassment of women is a criminal offence, punishable with a term of 5 years imprisonment under Section 345 of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka. Turning the other way and pretending you do not see such acts of harassment are akin to committing the offence yourself. If Lanka unites on fundamental issues of this nature, the potential for sustainable change in our society is limitless. We invite you to stand with us to promote and safeguard this right and more importantly to guide our future generations on good conduct and values that will only benefit them. We encourage you to join with us and S.H.O.W You Care!

1 comment:

  1. Timely campaign. Good luck. School boys are not always the worst offenders. Perverts come in all shapes, ages and sizes.