In Active Tense
Rubina Singh will never forget the night some boys chased her and her friend before parking their car in her house's driveway. "They just stood there, and all I could think was, 'are they going to rape us?' It was the scariest moment of my life," recalls the 24-year-old. It was also a life-changing moment for her. "No one has the right to invade my home, my privacy, my life. No one," says she.
A law graduate from Panjab University, Singh just couldn't sit over it. "I had to do something, and that's when I came across Hollaback!," says she. Hollaback! (iHollaback.org) is a worldwide movement dedicated to ending street harassment by using mobile technology. The Chandigarh chapter, headed by Singh, has been working in the city since 2011 to raise awareness against street sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. They've organised protests, film screenings, awareness rallies and self-defence classes for the cause. In the wake of the recent rise in rape cases, especially the Delhi gangrape case, Singh's focus is now on how one can keep their city safe. "We can protest. We can light candles and hold up signs. We can shout till our throats are sore to get the government and police to take action. But we've decided to take that responsibility on ourselves. The police cannot be everywhere, but we can. Each one of us can take responsibility to keep our cities safe," says Singh who has, under Hollaback!, initiated The Pledge Project. "It's the pledge to speak up when we see a woman being harassed on the streets. We pledge to intervene when a woman is being raped/assaulted, pledge to simply dial 100 or 1091 to save a woman's life and dignity," says Singh, who has started the movement with Manyu Angrish, final year student at DAV College, Sector 10, and other volunteers.