By Smriti Parikh, SYBMM, Sophia College
We have a right to remain silent. But should we?
Being the largest girls’ college of Mumbai, Sophia College for Women raised their voice against rape and violence against women on the 3rd of January 2013.
The initiative was started as a means of finding solutions to curb violence and find punitive measures for the same. The first meeting saw more than 200 students huddled up in the canteen extension, listening intently and raising angered opinions. They talked about death penalties and castrations. They said that they had seen enough and now no more. But some said that situations like these cannot be dealt with anger. There is a need to think rationally as to how to cut the roots of the evil.
As more and more girls started coming up with ideas, the Student Body President, Shruti Parmar realized that the initiative has the scope of getting bigger.
Their next step was to come up with a draft resolution and send it to the Justice Verma Commission. An executive board was set up and a five member body deliberated over options and came up with pointers that were genuine and applicable in the real scenario. These pointers were then sent to law students of other colleges who scanned for legal conflicts and helped and supported us in the cause. On the 14th of January, the five girls proudly submitted their resolution to the Justice Verma Commission.
But the story wasn’t over yet. The college had decided to make this a permanent cause; not to ever submerge themselves into silence. Hence, multiple meetings were held in different classrooms with more and more people joining the force. Soon enough, there was a need to bring innovation and newness in the meetings.
On 28th of January, the leaders of different colleges congregated and decided to set up a grievance cell for college going girls as the first step. A meeting with Gamdevi police was set up and 10 girls from the college were asked to talk to him and suggest ways of improvement.
However, the enthusiasts and activists are still not satisfied. Breaking the culture of silence became a culture in itself in Sophia’s. Students roamed around wearing badges and holding placards. Even teachers felt the need to join their league.
As of today, the Student Body President says that there is a need for this movement to stay active forever. Not to come into action when another incident happens, not when one of us is affected, but now. And till this problem has been completely wiped off from the face of this society, we cannot afford to let it go into dormancy.
With hundreds of ideas still pouring in from students, Breaking the Culture of Silence has seen a tremendous participation and it hopes to see more in the coming years.
To join this cause and come up with new ideas please send an email to email@example.com