By Roshni Banerjee

Volunteers talking to students

Volunteers talking to students
Photo: Roshni Banerjee

While the number of sexual assaults in our city shows no signs of receeding, Eleni Lazarou from the University of Hyderabad has decided to tackle the issue of crime against women, specifically by gathering the support of men for this movement.

Here is a campaign that doesn’t just rely on speeches and promises. Implementing a definitive symbol of masculinity, the event ‘Ask Me About My Beard!’ intends to create a platform for an open dialogue among the participants encouraging them to understand what constitutes as sexual harassment and how it could be countered.

“Typically sexual harassment is something we might get women to talk about but men shy away from talking about it”, said Eleni, while also stating that there are men who do care about this issue prompting the need to get them involved in it.

The men participating in this event would be given a hand-made moustache-shaped badge that they’ll have to wear for the duration of 2 weeks which also includes growing out their beard for that time. The idea behind sporting these symbols is to spread awareness about the heinous crimes that are committed against women even in educational institutions.

After having put on the moustache badge Priyam Das, an MBA student from the Health Care department, shared his opinion on the issue of women’s safety stating that no matter how much security is provided in the campus, the quality of patrolling must be perfected in order to avoid any crime.

Following two successful meet and greet sessions at the campus canteen Gops and Shop Com, on the 23rd and 24th of October respectively, Eleni, a student from the Study in India Program (SIP) shall be conducting another gathering at Student Canteen on the 25th.

Sadly even in the midst of an initiative abhorring sexual assaults, a volunteer was harassed while discussing the purpose of this event on the morning of 23rd itself. Eleni mentioned that it had been difficult to get the police to help and while they did apprehend the culprit the authorities didn’t know whether to keep him or let him go. “While we can talk to women about sexual harassment”, she adds, “it’s important that men keep an eye out for their friends as well as their own actions. The university should work on a more organised system of security on campus.”

Eleni hopes for more people to talk about the campaign and for much more to get engaged in it as it might even continue in the further years.