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Anil Philip

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Rapes: Conduct a media campaign in India to ask women to get a promise from the men in their lives to respect women they come across daily.

Background: Women are unsafe in India. Recently there was a shocking gang rape of a young student on a bus (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20753075). update: the girl has since died. Sexual harassment under the guise of 'eve teasing' is widespread. (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20765364)

*Idea:* Advertising agencies and the media should donate space and broadcast time to conduct an unusual campaign: Urge sisters, mothers, wives, to talk to their brothers, fathers, husbands, friends to treat women they encounter with respect. To get a commitment from the men in their lives that they will not harass nor allow to be mistreated, the women they come across in their daily life. If you show an advertising video clip of a girl asking her brother if he has 'eve teased' (harassed), and if he has, she scolds him. Then the advt should ask sisters to do the same.
Again an advertising video clip of a mother telling her son to keep his hands to himself when he passes a girl on the street. Then the advt should ask mothers to do the same.... you get the idea.
It is a lot more effective than changing laws or adding new police patrols or other measures that will fade.

There is a culture of sexual harassment prevalent in India. Women commuting, going for a walk, traveling by bus, are unsafe. I have personally witnessed plenty of harassment in India. If women influence the men in their lives to treat female strangers they come across with respect, then there will be a general atmosphere that is safe for women.

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  • Dec 26 2012: This is a good idea; companies should not see the issue of safety and security as a cross that should only be carried by the government. The media should use its influence to affect social perception because this is about the way women are percieved.
    It should be clear that rape is unacceptable.
    In this case 60 seconds PSAs would go a long way.
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    Jan 9 2013: No one here has pointed out that this is an issue for men to address, not women. Men rape other men's mothers, wives, and sister and daughters.

    in India, a rape is reported on average every 20 minutes.

    A global poll of experts last year by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, showed India to be the worst place among G20 countries to be a woman.
    Activists say most sex crimes in India go unreported, and official data show that almost all go unpunished. Reported rape cases rose nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011.

    "Guilt is not one-sided," the guru, Asaram Bapu, told followers this week, adding that if the student had pleaded with her six attackers in God's name, and told them she was of the "weaker sex", they would have relented.
    Such views have caused outrage among India's growing urban middle class.
    Protesters burned effigies of the yoga guru near his headquarters in western India, media reported, and Twitter exploded with posts calling him "medieval" and a "misogynist".
    But he is not alone.
    Before last month's gang rape caused shockwaves, it was common for police to point the finger of blame in sex crime cases at women's clothing, or the fact that they worked alongside men.

    Blaming women is something men do to excuse their behaviors.

    I might recommend this TEDTalk http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men.html
    "The Centers for Disease Control says that men’s violence against women is at epidemic proportions. — Tony Porter (at 09:55)"
    "At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don't "act like a man." Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the "man box."

    But instead I will ask you to listen to the eloquent words powerful women.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/suheir_hammad_poems_of_war_peace_women_power.html
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    Dec 30 2012: I am not sure that will work. You cannot just 'ask' someone to treat women with respect when the culture, market, media and law-makers are hardly sincere about that respect. We should rather think deeply about why rapes happen and how it should stop.
    When will the rapes stop? Taslima Nasrin says : When men stop raping. I find that answer more of jest and less of sense. It's a circular argument that creates the question : When will men stop raping?
    Rape is a crime that is power-centric. It has hardly anything to do with sex - either on a procreative angle or pleasure. It's only incidental that it involves sexual violation of a human body. Rape is a phallic statement of power over weak, a cruel destruction of human dignity. Rape will only stop when sexual integrity is decoupled from modesty, when women are as strong as men physically, socially and financially, when a raped woman is viewed as a survivor of a crime not a victim. In short when the primary drive of the power statement behind rape is denied.
    Rape will stop when both masculine aggression and feminine fragility cease to exist as valid memes. Yes, we will lose some poetry and romantic innuendos with societies of masculine women and feminine men, but that will be better than living with the shame and insecurity of the present time.
    • Dec 30 2012: If you show an advertising video clip of a girl asking her brother if he has 'eve teased' (harassed), and if he has, she scolds him. Then the advt should ask sisters to do the same.
      or a an advertising video clip of a mother telling her son to keep his hands to himself. Then the advt should ask mothers to do the same.... you get the idea.
      It is a lot more effective than changing laws or adding new police patrols or other measures that will fade.
  • Dec 29 2012: Just allow unmarried young people to have relationships and sex and start treating boys and girls equally, that will solve many problems whether society is hindu, christian, muslim (yeah, that's right, they don't deserve to be capitalized) or some other sex-obsessed hypocritical religion that turn a blind eye when boys break the rules but kick girls when they're down.
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    Dec 29 2012: Forgive my directness, yet what you are suggesting is just naive!

    Rape does not happen because men have not promised not to ... this is thought is just bizarre!

    Rape is an act of plain and conscious violence, as any man has what it takes to control his urge of sexual excitement, just by himself, which is called masturbation...

    The fact that a man chooses not to 'take hands' on himself, yet to rape a child, girl or woman (also boys) instead, is a criminal act only and no lack of a single promise.

    Forced sex against the will of any individual is a crime and should be put to justice. The reasons why men are committing this crime are probably manifold, yet in either case, a lack of respect against other beings is mandatory in any... and something what a simple promise would not be able to cure...

    We have seen 'even' priests raping, so lip-service from the side of the offender is nothing we could rely on, ever.

    So we got to strengthen the voice of the victims! Unfortunately a lot of raping happens in close family circles, and the victims are to often ashamed and frightened to talk about the crime which was done to them by their parents or relatives. If at all a media campaign would be able to help at least those victims to raise their voice to be heard, this new cast 'light' may stop some men who think to 'get away' with rape easily and 'in the dark'.

    As the sex-drive is one of the strongest we have as humans, I don't know if there is a general and helpful way to teach and to learn how to deal with it. As for any emotion, this is highly individual, and probably subjected to abnormalities and excessive deformations. So prevention and elucidation should have an important part in our societies, and with no more silence from the victims side, we would then get to see the whole scope of rape and abuse and if this was 'just' exceptional or epidemic in our human and masculine nature ...
    • Dec 29 2012: I agree with many of your points, but this gang rape was just the tip of the iceberg. There is a culture of sexual harassment prevalent in India. Women commuting, going for a walk, traveling by bus, are unsafe. I have personally witnessed plenty of harassment in India. If women influence the men in their lives to treat women they come across with respect, then there will be a general atmosphere that is safe for women.
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    Dec 26 2012: For starters, the way media portraits women and 'role models' which are established to young minds are poisonous. Media needs to stop glorifying violence. Our media needs a change within. It is key to a bright future.
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    Jan 6 2013: Curious, Anil, why have you posed the question? If you find that people generally agree this would be a good campaign, are you then going to write to ad agencies and ask them to create these ads? Or is this more of an intellectual exercise?

    Although your campaign sounds good, it's a little hard for me here in california to know what will work in India. I don't know why I don't see so much harassment in California. I'm pretty sure if I fondled a woman on the street here, she'd get on her phone and call the police to come help her. So the police are important, no? Are there any women working on the police force in India? Maybe they need more female police workers there.
  • Dec 29 2012: update: the woman has since died from the trauma http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20863860
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    Dec 26 2012: It might be a good idea, but are you sure the media is telling you accurately what life is like in India? Sometimes the media sensationalizes things to sell newspapers. For example, I remember a major flood here in the United States. The first day after the flood, the headlines said three thousand dead. But as the days went by, it became clear that about eight hundred had died, a significant number but not as many as three thousand.
  • Dec 26 2012: The most effective message would be mother and father to sons, early and often.

    Rape is far too common in the USA also.