Film Combats Eve-teasing

A story on how community-based films can take the lead in campaigns for social changes. Sandhya became a Community Correspondent for IndiaUnheard some months ago. But she has been associated with Video Volunteers from long before, as a community producer in a Community Video Unit (CVU). The CVU is a particular community media model launched by Video Volunteers in collaboration with other NGOs all over India and in Brazil. CVUs are local production units made up of underprivileged community members, who are trained in all aspects of video production and then work full-time to produce films that are relevant to their community. The CVUs are sponsored by a local NGO, which orients the CVUs in the choice of films that are going to be produced. CVUs are a unique model in that films are produced by community members, and screened back to the communities to spread change, mobilization, and awareness. Sandhya has been associated with Apna TV – 'One’s Own' TV – for the last two years. Apna TV is a Mumbai-based CVU, sponsored by Akshara, an NGO working for gender justice. As part of Apna TV, 11 youths have been trained as videographers, and have been producing videos on various women’s issues. In today’s video, Sandhya documents the impact of one of these CVU-videos, “Speak Out Loud” that explores the issue of eve-teasing, a sadly common phenomenon in South Asian cities which involves the harassment of women in public spaces through cat-calling, making comments and touching in inappropriate places.  This video was part of a larger campaign led by Akshara against street violence faced by women, and for the launching of a special police helpline dedicated to the issue of street harassment – 103. To sensitize the public on the issue Apna TV screens the video among communities, in colleges in Thane area and in some NGOs. But the largest impact came from the screening of the video on Best TV, a TV channel broadcast on Bombay Buses. This medium proved extremely powerful to reach out to a large number of people and to bring awareness on a large scale. On a daily basis, up to 800,000 people watched the video screened in over 1,000 buses. The campaign was run for 21 days, with most people reacting very favorably to it. Sandhya and her CVU fellows were extremely impressed by the large impact of this video, that shows the power of community-produced videos.

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