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See How This Female Artist Is Turning A ‘Rapist Lane’ Into ‘Safest Lane’

  • IWB Post
  •  July 31, 2015

Artist Jasmeen Patheja took it in her hands to change the perception people hold for this particular street in Bangalore. Known as the infamous “Rapist Lane”, the street is a quarter kilometer through Yelahanka — a suburb.

Although, there exist no police records indicating that a rape has ever occurred here, but still the locals (especially girls) are asked not to visit the street alone.

Jasmeen runs Blank Noise – an art collective staffed by student volunteers called ‘action heroes’. Along with these students, Jasmeen started a project called ‘Talk To Me’ where strangers are invited to chat with one another, just like on a blind date.55b63b8e1d00003000142ab2

This concept might sound very western to most of you but it has a winning point. The students -many of them are young women – sit with samosas and chai, only to be joined by their stranger friends to spark a conversation. The aim is to ignite empathy between people of different backgrounds, genders and castes. With the power of love and friendship, Jasmeen and team want this street to be renamed as “the Safest Lane” of Bangalore.55b639a71400002f002e0c56

Similar project was executed in Delhi and Kolkata during 2012. Here, the participants (mostly women) begin the conversation by discussing their experience of the street harassment. The listening strangers then elect to sit down and carry on the conversation with someone, or move on.55b6cb721d00003000142e4f

She tells The Huffington Post, “The first step was to start calling it that. Then we tried to change our attitude towards it, and actually make it the safest lane. With a conversation, there’s empathy. There is a possibility of making human beings out of stereotypes, and perhaps leaving with a new idea about assumed differences.”

This campaign not only helps women address their issues openly but also let men overcome a fear/complex they develop within – the fear of being labeled as a rapist or harasser.55b6389f1400002e002e0c53

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