Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ring the Bell

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

L. Cohen

More reflections on how to step up to the plate of interdependence.

Sometimes the answer is simple yet so profound. Take this example from Plan International’s report, Because I am a Girl: So, what about Boys? The study argues that gender equality is good for both boys and girls and that “there needs to be a shift in thinking from ‘men and boys as part of the problem’ to ‘men and boys as part of the solution’”. To that end, men from diverse countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, El Salvador and India are coming together and discussing topics such as “gender-based oppression and violence, power dynamics within the family, intimate relationships, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and democracy”. From these discussions projects such as ‘Ring the Bell’ in India are not only promoting gender equality but stopping violence.

Here is an excerpt from the report:

"In 2008, men and boys started to break the cycle of violence against women in India with a simple, effective action: when they heard a man abusing a woman inside a nearby home, they rang the doorbell or found another way to interrupt the violence. They made their presence known. They halted the violence simply by lifting one finger.

This campaign, produced by the organisation Breakthrough, known as ‘Bell Bajao’ (‘ring the bell’ in Hindi), has now touched 130 million people, won a Silver Lion Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and become a metaphor for stopping abusive behaviour in any form. In addition to inspiring thousands of people to ‘ring the bell’, Bell Bajao has led to an increased awareness of laws against domestic violence and increased reporting of the crime.

Today, more and more men and boys are ringing the bell. And around India, a conversation is happening. It is challenging social norms and changing behaviour. And it is making violence against women, which was once seen as acceptable, unacceptable."
North Americans are not immune to gender-based violence or inequality. The question as always … what can we do as individuals to ring the bell?

1 comment:

  1. Love this story. And a great question - what can we do?