Safecity is celebrating the journey of people who have emerged as leaders as our campaigns progressed in their communities through our blog series “Safecity Emerging Leaders“. Read the inspiring stories of these individuals who are passionate about making their neighborhoods safer with Safecity and have taken action in their own special ways.
13 year old Saba Parveen is the youngest of her family of seven, however that does not stop her from raising her voice loud against any social injustice. Living in the community of Bandra Plot, she has fought for the issues of free and accessible community toilets, girl’s education and now with Safecity, she is working on a campaign against sexual harassment in public spaces.
“Before I didn’t even know what ched-chaad (Sexual harassment) was but now I take action and speak up against it.”
Saba, through various workshops and discussions began to see how harassment is a form of violence, and what are its repercussions. “Harassment makes girls unsafe, and they become scared. They stop themselves from going out, even if their family lets them, even if they are with friends. Girls only leave the house if they have a reason- school, tuition, etc.”
Saba also saw a darker consequence of harassment, especially of stalking. “Some boys follow girls home, or take their pictures without their consent. If family members find out, many times it is the girl who gets blamed. Some girls get so scared that they even commit suicide.” All this motivated her to make a change, and do something about this. Through the platform given by Vacha and Safecity, she found a safe space to discuss the issue. “I can’t talk to anybody at home about this, but here I can speak up and be heard.”
Today she is a part of the core campaign group in Bandra Plot against sexual harassment. During our reclaiming of public garden event, she spoke passionately about the restrictions placed on girls by family and society, and how this is also a form of violence. Later she also spoke about how many parents fear for their daughter’s safety due to sexual harassment.
“We must continue our work, get more girls into public spaces, and increase reporting of such incidences. Whatever work happens against sexual harassment, I will definitely be a part of it.”