Women across India are posting selfies out and about after midnight, in a defiant stand against “regressive India.”
The #AintNoCinderella movement was set off after a senior politician “victim shamed” a woman who was chased and almost kidnapped as she drove home after midnight on Saturday in the northern city of Chandigarh.
Varnika Kundu was pursued by two men in their car, before they blocked the road in front of her and approached on foot, hitting the windows and trying to break in.
“They seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved, just enough to scare me that it might hit me,” Kundu wrote in a Facebook post.
She said she was lucky not to be “lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere,” and added: “If this is what women deal with in one of the safer cities in the country, where are we going?”
But in response to the attack, senior BJP politician Ramveer Bhatti said it would not have happened if Kundu hadn’t been out “so late in the night.”
He said : “The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night. Why was she driving so late in the night? The atmosphere is not right. We need to take care of ourselves.”
The comment has sparked outcry on social media, with women posting images of themselves on nights out in cities across India.
“Oops. 1:45 am and I am out on Delhi Roads, in a short dress. Stop me if you can!” wrote one .
Another said: “Dear regressive India, I will do as I please, night or day. Don’t ever think you have the right to stop me.”
The campaign was launched by Divya Spandana, a popular film actress who is also head of the opposition Congress party’s social media cell.
“Why shouldn’t women go out after midnight? I’m asking people like Mr Bhatti who are they to set curfew hours for us? I want to ask him who is he to question us? This is such a regressive mindset,” Spandana told the BBC .
The response to her stance has been mixed, with messages of support as well as threats and insults.
She added: “Think about it – I’m a journalist, I work for the government-run media, I’m no pushover and I’m being threatened for my tweet. But I’m not afraid. Nothing is going to stop us, no amount of naysayers can frighten us.”
Following Bhatti’s comments, Kundu said it was a “well-established tactic” to intimidate her.
“I’m supposed to be wondering about what this is going to do to my image and my life,” she told NDTV .
“But what would those guys have done to my life if they had caught me? What I do and where I go and at what time I do it is my business.”
CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. The campaign uses innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Co-founded by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault, CHIME FOR CHANGE works with a coalition of partner organizations, including the Kering Foundation, Facebook, and Hearst Magazines.