Set up in 2008 and starting from India, Fight Back, an online youth campaign against gender violence, declared March 8 as International Missing Women’s Day. The missing women refers to female fetuses that are aborted because of their gender. A caption on the website reads, “if your mother had been aborted, where would you be”. (Point taken, though I am likely to be at the same place were it my father who had been aborted either.)
As a pilot project, Fight-Back chose to make Mumbai a zero female feticide zone. For this, it tied-up with Indian Medical Association (IMA) and approached doctors to take the pledge that they would neither abet sex-determination tests nor abort female fetuses. Starting with a count of 117, Fight-Back has roped in more than 200,000 doctors all over the country. As part of the campaign, Fight Back aims to have a number/email id for citizens to report rogue doctors; Fight-Back and IMA will then follow up on these complaints by monitoring the reported doctors and clinics.
Fight-Back is not just about female feticide but against gender violence of all kind. It is petitioning for tougher rape laws and is educating women about resources available to them such as police help lines, gender laws. “Our premise is that the idea that you can ‘FIGHT-BACK’ needs to be implanted in people’s heads.” With media and advertising professionals at its helm, the campaign’s attempt to affect the nation’s social fabric by influencing ideas about what is acceptable and what is not, what is in and what is out, who are the ‘real men’ and who are not, what will do and what will not, seems to be a goal within reach.
The person behind the movement is Zubin Driver, creative head of Network 18 group, and who was apalled at the 2008 New Year molestation incident in Juhu by the revellers on the street. Public and police apathy towards the incident drove him to launch the campaign. Since then, it has been gaining support from celebrities, from youth on social networking sites, Facebook and blogs, and from personalities such as Soli Sorabjee who have taken up the cause. Nine members form the core-team and it has more than a thousand followers on Facebook alone.
Check out their website and get informed. In the words of Raghu, MTV producer and a core member, join the movement to make any act of gender violence ‘uncool’.