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I Break My Silence – School Sessions

 

While Gender Based Violence (GBV) is happening all around yet the voices are not united against it and many a times they go unheard. I Break My Silence has taken the ownership to give people a safe space to speak up about GBV. We reach out to youngsters in the city and conduct sessions with them to talk about GBV, its forms, causes, preventive measures and how these youngsters can make a contribution to end GBV.
In the month of January, I Break My Silence team conducted sessions with students of Motiram Arya, D.C. Model and government school in Panchkula. From the understanding of the problem to the ideas as how they (students) can contribute to end GBV, these youngsters bring fresh ideas and energy to solve the issue.
These sessions are based on the retrospective reflection and understanding from those past experiences. It starts with a warm up activity to give an overview of the issue to the students. Followed by that an activity where students come up with different forms of GBV happening around and probable root causes of the same. During such interactions with young minds, we get multiple range of responses like,
Once during a session, a student of IX standard said, “the dressing of an individual is the reason for various incidents of GBV happening around.”
Some students feels it is the mindset issue while some feel it is the lack of enforcement of laws against GBV due to which people feel encouraged to get involved in such acts. Some students say it is because of the discrimination in the society, people feel proud if they are able to overpower someone from the acts of harassment etc.
It is very insightful to know what these young minds are growing up with and then further round of discussion with them as how gender inequality & lack of enforcement of human rights is contributing to GBV.
The sessions also stresses on the reaction of people to GBV and how important it is to break the silence around this. To bring about any change we need to speak up against what is happening and by this session we want these youngsters to break their silence. And many of them did break their silence and shared their stories of GBV,
“I was raped by my paternal uncle when I was 8 and till date I couldn’t speak about it with anyone. Being a boy, I feel no one is even going to believe me if I share it with anyone. But today I felt good that I could finally open up.”
“I was travelling in a bus and I notice a middle aged man groping a girl 2-3 times. She didn’t say anything and finally got down at the next stop. I was feeling angry & didn’t know what to do to stop it as I could see the girl feeling uncomfortable.”
“While returning from tuition, a guy came up to me and asked me for my contact number. When I refused he said that he will continue to follow me and won’t stop until I talk to him. I was dead scared at that time & somehow managed to escape from there.”
“I was enrolled in music classes & after a few classes my music teacher started misbehaving with me and I couldn’t share it with anyone. Then I just left the classes and I have no interest in music now. My mother still asks me as why I don’t go for classes but I can’t tell her the reason.”
At the end, students took a pledge to not to be silent but share their stories or experiences and inspire others also to speak up. We believe that these young minds have the power to bring about a change against GBV and build an ecosystem of gender equality.

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