When Delhi boy Dhruv Arora started gotstared.at in January this year, little did he imagine that he would get the kind of response the Facebook page has garnered within six months of its launch.
The page, which gives users a chance to talk about gender discrimination and sexual harassment, has already got more than 7,000 ‘likes’ and its quirky posters with interesting messages are being shared by users like never before.
In fact, the page which came into being soon after a spate of rapes and insensitive comments by those in the authority, became so popular that Arora is now looking for volunteers to assist him with the running of the page. ‘The movement picked up so I have asked people to come and join me. So far, I got about 80 applications within a week,’ says Arora.
‘I started it as a movement which aims to end violent attitude towards survivors of sexual harassment. People are scared to talk about it. Gotstared.at is an open page where people can talk about sexual/gender discrimination and harassment. It is to open logical discussions about things not talked about,’ explains Arora.
‘Got stared at? Recently? Ever? In public? In private? Crudely? Rudely? Not just stared, but molested, teased, harassed, groped. All this just because you are a woman. Did the clothes matter? Did the age matter? Did the time matter? Did the space matter? Did the day matter? Did the night matter?’ reads the description on their page and it also encourages people to send a photo of what they were wearing when they faced sexual harassment.
They are now now in partnership with a Noida-based NGO which shares a common aim of addressing the issues surrounding street harassment and facilitate the creation of a safe space for people to discuss these issues.
One way the page grabs attention is through their quirky posters which become a rage among Facebook users within days of being uploaded. Sample this: ‘You raped her because her clothes provoked you? I should break your face. Your stupidity provokes me’. Or this: ‘Nazar teri buri aur burkha main pehanu?’ Then there is: ‘Live in Delhi? Bored? Go rape someone today!’ And these posters are being shared by thousands of users who are not just limited to Delhi.
‘Most of these issues are talked about in very serious tones. I wanted to see how people react when you add humour,’ says the 23-year-old from East Patel Nagar who works as a gender facilitator.
‘People wanted to talk about these. I am just facilitating the process. The discussions are moderated by people themselves,’ he says.
Most of the participation, says Arora, is from Delhi, not surprising given the city’s reputation of being insensitive towards women.