EMK Centre organized a day-long series of workshops and interesting events on 26 November observing International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The first session on ‘Mapping the Violence’ conducted by Umama Zillur, Founder, ‘Cholo Kotha Boli’ and Nazmun Naher Shishir, Journalist and Project Coordinator, Elimination of Violence against Women.

The workshop was based on understanding and recognizing the violence and harassment. Often girls and women negotiate to recognize the harassment and violence they experience on a daily basis. This part of the program triggers that issue and responses from the students and audience were overwhelming.

Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The panelists are there to clear any misunderstanding regarding the issue among the audience. Thus, panelists shared their own stories and inspired the audience to get indulged in the discussion. Therefore, university students, journalists, and school teachers among the audience share their experiences.

Eve teasing, harassment, rape, and many other occurrences are happening every day. 35 percent of women around the globe and 75 percent of women in our country get harassed, found from a statistic on violence.

Throughout the session, while interacting with the audience Umama Zillur asked everyone a few questions to understand the perception of the audience. The discussion became very effective when the male audience also shared their own stories and somehow highlighted that, these issues should be solved both by males and females in society.

Stereotypical Perspectives Regarding

There are some stereotypical perspectives regarding the sexual desire in our society said by Umama Zillur. She also has raised arguments on rape victims, survivors, child marriage, and took opinions among the participants.

‘Sexual harassment and violence against women are acts of showing power therefore to suppress women. Patriarchy is not about any specific gender — all men are not a patriarch. Being a victim of patriarchy, often women play the role of an oppressor. If everyone is aware of their rights along with others, patriarchy can be abolished,’ shares Nazmun Naher Shishir.

The second panel of the day attended by Preema Nazia Andaleeb, Artist, Director and Creative Editor, Bangladesh Brand Forum; and Priyanka Bose Kanta, Lecturer, Department of Law, University of the Dhaka.

Preema says, ‘Self-awareness and ‘awakeness’ are the keys to prevent violence. Every girl has to come out of their cocoon and they should learn the sutra of being bold and straight forward. Therefore, the cultural shock would work as an efficient tool to make this country tolerable about gender balance.’

Among the three different panels on violence against women

Among the three different panels on violence against women, the third one was enlightened by Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Founder, HerStory; and Nomita Halder, Teacher, BMIF, Mirpur.

Zareen shares, ‘To educate a child about gender balance, parents and teachers have to ensure proper upbringing. If guardians anyway stereotypes in front of their children, automatically they will adopt that.’

Nomita Halder, an acid attack survivor, shares, ‘Despite all obstacles girls shall not lose their confidence. Dignity does not depend on specific gender rather it’s one’s action.’

A performance art titled ‘Still I Rise’, adapted from Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise’, directed by Ahmed Tahsin Shams, took the stage after the lunch break. The performers were Rose, Priyana, and Elizabeth. Vocal artists were Sharlin Farzana and Ahmed Tahsin Shams.

At the end of the program

At the end of the program, a short film ‘Dhaka Shuts’, by Avant-Garde Production, screened which depicted the daily struggle of women in Dhaka streets. This short film is an adaptation of the namesake poem by Nazmun Naher Shishir.

The event triggers that everyone has a role to play in helping women and girls stay safe and feel secure. The goal of the event was to create awareness about women’s empowerment to promote an inclusive society of peace and harmony.

The ceremony ended with a storytelling contest among students.

News Coverages: NTV Online, The Daily Observer, The Daily Star

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