On 10 December 2019, MAKERS India launched its Zip It Up campaign in an effort to support and amplify the movement to end violence against women in India.
The violent attack and rape of a young veterinarian in Hyderabad last month is one of the few cases that have caught the attention of the media -- the bestiality of which shook the nation, a mere few weeks before the seventh anniversary of the horrific Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012.
The larger reality, however, is that violence against women, in particular sexual assault, has become all too common in India. According to a study by Reuters in 2017, the reported cases of sexual assault in India was estimated to be 33,000 and the number of pending trials in court, 128,000.
Somehow, it is as if the sheer volume of rape cases in India have made the public numb to news of any forms of violence against women. It is only when cases like the Hyderabad one comes to light that the country sits up and takes notice, signalling just how urgently we need to educate men and women, sensitise our law enforcement, and have more effective laws surrounding violence against women.
Unfortunately, this sense of urgency does not last. It tends to die down all too soon without any meaningful change to the status of gender-based violence in the country.
But it’s time to say, enough is enough.
Rape cases should no longer be just the subject of debates on news channels; it should result in more concrete action to address the issue.
We’ve heard all too often the many misogynist remarks being passed around for victims and survivors of sexual violence: ‘why didn’t she call the police?’, ‘why was she wearing short clothes?’, ‘cinema is to blame for this’, ‘men will be men’, and the list drags on.
For far too long, women have feared their basic right to be able to wear what they want. They’ve dreamed of the day they can walk down the street without the fear of such gruesome violence. They’ve put their heads down and internalised these hateful comments that have consistently labelled them as the gender that doesn’t matter.
Today, we encourage women to collectively fight for their freedom of choice. We encourage them to be fearless in their expression. And, most importantly, we encourage them to stand up to misogyny and say Zip It Up.
(Text Edited By: Tenzin Pema)
MAKERS India’s #ZipItUp campaign aims to change the conversation around sexual violence against women, by first shutting down unhealthy oratory bashing of women and promoting constructive debates around gender equality. Whether it is the victim-blaming narrative or the norms of patriarchy, which hurt even men, it’s time to rewrite the rules. OUR TIME IS NOW to join hands and make them Zip It Up.