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Meet Rubina Singh, site leader in Chandigarh, India.
Interview conducted by Rita Beth.
When did you start your holla?
Why did you start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback! mean to you?
Street harassment had become a daily reality for me. I was tired and had no idea what to do about it. One incident in particular, triggered me to find a more long-term solution. I was followed home by some men in a car and it scared me to death. I wasn’t sure what would happen and I just froze. I didn’t do anything then but it really got to me and I knew I had to do something. That was when I found out about Hollaback!. I wrote about it once here.
HOLLAfact about your city:
It’s the greenest city in India.
Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
Engage men and women in conversation about gender roles and gender based violence including street harassment.
What was your first experience with street harassment?
My first experience was when I was 16 years old. I was walking from home to a market and a group of boys started following me and making lewd comments. I entered a shop where I knew the owner and stayed there until I saw them leave.
What’s your signature Hollaback?
I usually keep Hollaback! Pamphlets with me and just hand them over to people harassing me or someone else around me. It’s a great way to start talking about the issue.
Define your style:
My superheroine power is positivity. I try to look at the brighter side of things and make the best out of what is available.
What is your proudest holla moment so far?
We recently conducted a campaign, The Pledge Project, where we encouraged people in the city to pledge that they would speak up against street harassment in their city. We collected over 500 pledges and hopefully made a contribution in ending street harassment in the city.
What do you do when you’re not holla’ng?
Sleeping! Other than that, I work full time with the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre based in Chandigarh. We work primarily in the field of youth development.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Keep calm and Hollaback!
What are you excited about in 2013?
Queer Pride! Chandigarh is about to see its first ever pride march on the 15th of March. It’s being led by an HIV/AIDS awareness organization, Saksham Trust CBO and Hollaback! Chandigarh is supporting it.
We’re also hoping to collaborate with the city police (they’ve been hugely supportive) to conduct safety audits in the city.
What inspires you?
Learning from the awesome Hollaback! Family. Everyone is amazing beyond amazing and it’s a daily inspiration to see the great work they’re doing and how fantastic they are as people.
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