The video above represents a multi-faith collaboration and depicts young men of multiple religions coming together to defend a woman being harassed. The video was uploaded moments ago on YouTube. At the time of this writing, there were only three views. However, we predict it is about to go viral.
Redefining Male Identity
The message in the video could mark the launch of a campaign in India to redefine the role and identity of religious men in society — not just as those who will choose to do good, but will act to stop what’s bad. In India (and around the world), the harassment of women is prevalent, and a major point of frustration, hurt, and concern for everyone.
Critics of the Video
Some women’s rights advocates may be offended by the message presented by the video — a message that suggests women are vulnerable unless men are there to protect them. Critics will argue that we need to empower women to feel confident in defending themselves, and ultimately we need to create a world in which women (and everyone else) won’t feel threatened, but will feel safe.
Yet, it’s not the intention of the video to suggest that women are weak and need men for protection. Instead, the video intends to help young men realize that harassing women is bad, and if you see something going on, you should step in and stop it.
In the context of a world where billions of people are at the intersection of following various convergent patriarchal religions, it’s a move in the right direction.
Similar Campaign in the United States
In the U.S. there is a similar concern about women being harassed, particularly in college towns. As a result, a program has been launched whereby bar employees and other community groups are taking bystander intervention training to identify signs of women being at risk of attack. The message is community-wide and encourages men and women to be actively attentive and help intervene when they see others who may be at risk of abuse or who are being harassed.
Comments and Feedback
Here is an exchange from our Facebook page regarding the video.
Rochelle A. – “Women don’t want protection. We want equality. We want to protect each other. Religion takes our rights, takes our choices, keeps us quiet little beings away from the world. Then, religion calls it protection. It’s not protection. It’s clipping our wings because they fear us and our potential.”
RFL Response – “Rochelle, Thanks for sharing. Yes, one frustration people will have with the message in the video is how some religions (particularly the older patriarchal ones) seem to have as a central part of their message the role of women as subservient. Women still aren’t able to lead or teach in some sects. This doesn’t empower them with confidence. A message that ‘men will protect you’ puts them in a position of feeling like they can’t protect themselves. What’s worse, is that it’s often these religious men who are the ones carrying out the crimes against women (honor killings, etc.). It’s the religious laws that these women are perceived to have violated. So, it’s indeed religion and men yah become the enemy. What’s needed is a complete transformation in society.”
We’re tracking the views and global interest in this video. Here are some periodic updates on how many views there have been on YouTube. The shares on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are for this page only. Additional shares of the video may exist for other web pages where the video can be found.
|Date||Views||Facebook Shares||Twitter Shares||LinkedIn Shares|
|20 July 2014||0||0||0||0|
|27 July 2014||16,506||35||8||4|
|31 July 2014||8,579*||40||10||4|
* The video we previously had embedded in this post and tracked was taken offline after reaching about 16,000 views. The new version is a HD 720p version and seems to be closer to the original. We’re hoping it will remain online for a while. On 31 July 2014 it had 8,579 views.
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