“Self Arming” Megaproject of Amal Academy Team Spartans
In December 2019 a girl was heading to her hostel in Punjab University from her job. As she approached the gate of the university near Hailey College she was followed by a man, he harassed her and tried touching her. As she confronted her, he attacked and broke her nose. She quickly reached her hostel. The NEWS circulated for a time then disappeared. No legal action is taken and the assailants went on to search for a new victim. This story reminds us how as a nation we have lacked support, infrastructure and will power to deter harassment at universities and places of work.
Before I start let me ask a simple question. What is harassment? Is it gender specific? How can we fight this culture of harassment?
If we only see Pakistan every day thousands of people are harassed on the workplace, educational institutes and in public places. Although we have normalized most of the forms of harassment as a cultural thing, in actual causes mental and physical pain. Cognitive behaviour also gets disturbed because of harassment.
To start with let us first understand that harassment is not a normal phenomenon and must not be tolerated in any form and against any specific gender or race. Most of the people think that harassment gender-specific but statistics by stop harssment.org show 23 % of men and 65% of women are harassed.
6 major types of harassments that are widely reported at the workplace and educational institutes are
1- Physical Harassment
2- Personal Harassment
3- Discriminatory Harassment
4- Psychological harassment
6- Sexual Harassment
Although only one of the above-mentioned types is widely highlighted and considered harassment in true form.
In Amal Academy, we are working on our Mega Project “Self- Protection”
In this project, we will make people aware of the harassment and its forms. How to prevent it in your first place, How to come up with solutions to deter it. How we can make people life easier and peaceful.
Mostly the women are the target of such activities. These women are almost entirely dependent on male members of the family for their protection. This makes them more vulnerable to blackmailing and coercion.
Our idea is to provide them with training and awareness about how to know they are being harassed. What are their options and how they can defend themselves when needed?
We will be providing them with 3-month training in self-protection that will comprise of Martial arts, literature regarding the harassment types and what are their options in case they are harassed.
The training will be conducted 2 days a week under the supervision of a master trainer and social activists.
Our prime targets are educational institutes where there are young minds who understand the concept and more receptive to change. Universities will be on the top list in this project.
One of the most important features of our plan is that this is completely self-sustaining. There is an option if someone attends 3 sessions of 3 months one after another session, will be evaluated and provided with advance training. After completing 3 sessions they can start one’s training institute. So to teach others what they have learned. But they will have to report to us about the number of people who have benefitted and also one’s discipline. There will be a minimal fee of 300 rupees which will be collected monthly. As many other setups deal with such kind of situations but they address the only limited audience, not beneficial for everyone. Our program, however, is easy to access and starts with a minimal fee.
We got some very valid criticizing question on our idea that is “Why students should take part in this program? What immediate benefit will they get? How would we gauge their performance?”
One of the fellows of this circle came up with the idea of allocating a certain mark in their final semester so they will have to do this course. After evaluation, they will be awarding marks by their institutes. By this, we would not only able to maximize the participation of students but also this program become effective.
In future, we have the plan to expand our reach to more institutes and include law enforcement agencies and NGOs already working against harassment in educational institutes and workplace. We will convince them to collaborate with us and provide us with the necessary support in terms of finance, logistics and manpower.
The timeline that we initially decided was based on the normal situation when the COVID 19 pandemic was not a threat, but we had to reset the timeline and now we are waiting for the situation to normalize. Our prime target is Amal academy itself because of its diversity and acceptance of ideas.
In our team, we have 6 members:
- Ahmad Raza
- Muhammad Ahsan
- Muhammad Azad
- Talbia Ammar
- Muhammad Shahzaib
- Nauman Ahmad
As a team, we have fine-tuned this idea over time and last 15 days have been of most importance. Due to the pandemic, we could not leave the security of our homes, we are working remotely, conducted several meetings.
We are working step by step.
Firstly, we had a detailed discussion on our Mega Project idea though zoom meeting app.
Secondly, we discussed the questions that were found by my circle members. We communicated through WhatsApp and other communication channels to maintain a social distance during this time.
Now we are searching for solutions for those particular questions and then write the most effective answers based on research and statistics from authentic sources. The idea is to gather as much information needed to answer the reason for our project.
We are planning to diversify our idea through polls of people to know to what extent they think the harassment deterrence is needed.
As the first blog of our project and the present situation, we could achieve but it is a fraction of what we planned. But as it is said where there is a will there is away. The ultimate benefit of this Mega project will be the society.