By Arun Sam

Eleni Lazarou from the University of Hyderabad is on a mission to spread awareness about sexual harassment and to get more men involved in the cause. A student of the SIP program, Eleni initiated the campaign by trying to engage passersby in conversation and encouraging them to participate in the event.

On the 23rd and 24th of this month Eleni will, as part of her ‘Ask me about my Beard’ campaign, distribute moustache-shaped pins for men to wear, at Gops (on the 23rd) and at ShopCom (on the 24th) between 4p.m. and 7p.m at the University campus. They must then try to strike up conversations with strangers on the issue of sexual harassment.

In order for the men to play their part in decreasing the number of acts of sexual violence against women, Eleni Lazarou gives the following tips:

1. Understand what is and what constitutes sexual harassment and pledge their support to help prevent it.
2. Grow your beard (do not shave!) for the next two weeks.
3. Get and wear our cool “moustache badge” every day for the next two weeks.
4. When people ask you about the pin, or your beard, tell them about sexual harassment and why it should be prevented.

When asked, what made her initiate this campaign, she said “I am in the Women’s Studies department of the University of Michigan, USA. I actually began my freshman and sophomore years (first and second years) by taking classes which interested me, but when I took introduction to women’s studies, and women’s health, I became interested in feminism and studied it as my Major. My student organization which I am a part of, on my campus is called Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC), which puts on the Annual Beard Event to raise awareness and men’s activism regarding sexual assault, not only particularly on campus, but also in general.”

Not only will this unique method provide an open platform to help spread awareness about this vicious matter but it will also encourage participants with varying intellects to come up with a diverse set of solutions to eradicate the menace of sexual harassment.

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