In an effort to raise awareness about rape and sexism, a group of Jamia students, who wish to remain anonymous, are sticking sanitary pads with feminist messages on them, all across Jamia campus.
Some of the messages read:
“Period blood is not impure, your thoughts are.”
“Menstruation is natural, rape is not.”
“Streets of Delhi belong to women too.”
“Rapists rape people, not outfits.”
“Kanya Kumari, Gandi soch tumhari.”
Their awareness campaign, however, is inspired from and is part of a growing international campaign that took root online this International Women’s Day on March 8 with the hashtag #padsagainstsexism.
According to news reports, after noticing a tweet last year which said “Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods,” Elonë Kastratia, a young woman in Germany, began to write messages about rape and sexism on sanitary pads, then stuck them in public spaces for all to see.
In a matter of days, her #padsagainstsexism campaign started attracting attention, with her images being viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Instagram and Tumblr.
While speaking to Jamia Journal, one of the girls from the group said:
In a country where sexism is still so rampant, this was a blunt initiative to spread awareness. The message is strong, trying to remove the stigma attached to periods, something extremely natural. Our pads talk about sexism in everyday life and how rape culture affects people in our country. We hope to focus on promoting feminism and recognizing that it means equality, not men hate. We want to make people think. Along with being so blunt it is an extremely enlightening project. We are trying to help people realize that the natural phenomena such as a period should not have a stigma attached to it while rape and other instances of violence against women go seemingly unchecked.
Response to their unconventional campaign on campus, however, seems to have been met with intentional indifference mixed in with disgust.
On this, one of the girls in the group told us:
“We expected people to at least be curious and read it, but instead they shunned it and avoided it and were even disgusted by it. In Jamia, among so many educated people we expected a slightly less disgusted response.”
Nevertheless, the students hope their efforts will make some difference in the way we talk about women’s issues.
Following are few of the photos from Jamia campus provided by the said students: