Getting the message across

Social Campaigns
Last Updated 13 March 2013, 13:18 IST

Every time that a case of harassment or assault against a woman is brought to public attention, groups across the City initiate campaigns to address the issue of safety of the fairer sex.

The latest was ‘Skirt the Issue’, which sought to protest atrocities against women. But do campaigns like these leave a lasting impression and communicate the message the organisers strongly believe in? Metrolife talks to Bangaloreans about how to campaign for a cause effectively.

Adithya Mallya, a businessman and one of the organisers of the ‘Skirt the Issue’ campaign, says, “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that it doesn’t matter what attire is worn — the focus should be on the perpetrator. We had to go through immense ridicule for the first 12 hours of the campaign. There were people making offensive comments and there was name calling. But as the media noticed and the word spread, the issue went international. I even received a congratulatory message from a politician in Poland.” 

But others feel that there are better ways to spread a message. Social networking sites and media play a big role in today’s setup and are used frequently to campaign. Pooja Sriram, associate creative manager with a firm, says, “It’s often said, ‘Don’t kill the terrorist. Kill terrorism’. If I wanted to take up a cause, I would approach colleges in the City and ask students to make videos conveying the message. This would give those students a sense of doing something worthwhile. Besides, they would also discuss this with friends and family. These videos could then be showcased on
networking sites and other media.”

The need of the hour, it seems, is innovative ideas that can make an impact. Alwin Lawrence, senior business executive, suggests, “I would get a music concert organised for the cause and hand out teal ribbons, since teal signifies awareness about sexual violence. Attractive pamphlets and flyers with strong messages could also be distributed at the venue.”

“A flash mob or Youtube videos — which involve music and dance — go a long way in spreading a message. We don’t really need men wearing female attire to express a message,” opines Aishwarya Kannan, manager of operations at a travel and technology solutions firm, referring to the ‘Skirt the Issue’ campaign.  

Others agree that more practical and sensible solutions are needed. Mohammed Yaseer Alam says, “One of the best ways to communicate is through clips screened before movies in theatres, like those that inform us that smoking is injurious to health. Posters, brochures and pictures dealing with the subject in and around schools, colleges and workplaces would also reach out to people.”

However, there are some who feel that even these methods wouldn’t necessarily go a long way in changing the way people perceive women or addressing the issue of their safety.

The need of the day, it seems, is continuous and active campaigning for the cause — not one-off events that are forgotten as soon as they are conducted.

(Published 13 March 2013, 13:18 IST)

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