Ringing in a new era: the Bell Bajao campaign
What are the two things you really need to stop domestic violence in society? A conscience and courage. The Bell Bajao campaign which was launched in India in 2008 was geared towards making people realize exactly that. A special organization is not required to stop domestic abuse of women in houses. Special government structures, special laws and special non-governmental bodies will not be as effective as action taken by every citizen, every neighbour who knows about the domestic violence happening in their neighbourhood, and every person who wants this to end.
The movement was launched by Breakthrough, which is a media company geared towards spreading social awareness through mediums which people get attracted towards the most. The television, adverts, and suchlike are some of the mediums which they use to reach out to spread awareness. And the Bell Bajao campaign is unique in the sense that it does not promise people external help from a separate body. It urges people to use the most effective way for the elimination of social evils, which is individual effort.
The campaign urged men and boys especially, to rise up, and take up the challenge to remove the problem of domestic abuse. The idea is simple, if you know that there is domestic violence happening in the building/flat next to yours, just go up and ring the bell. Distract the person who is perpetuating the violence. Make sure you do it enough number of times, till the violence stops completely. The idea behind this is to make sure that the perpetrator knows that people are aware of the violence he/she is inflicting upon someone else, and that he should stop it if he does not want further action taken against him. It is such a simple idea, but it carries so much power, so much awareness within it. Apart from stopping the domestic violence, it also helps people become more aware of their duties as citizens, and more importantly, as creatures who are humane.
In a country such as ours, women and girls get beaten up by their fathers, husbands, brothers and even sons, on a regular basis. Woman-bashing is considered so normal, that abused women do not even bother correcting these habits in their own sons. The Bell Bajao campaign, which was launched under the Clinton Global Initiative, has found a way to address this problem in a very simple, direct and novel way.
Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the U.N General Secretary, as the first Global Champion for the Bell Bajao Campaign. Ogilvy and Mather did the adverts for the campaign for free in order to express their solidarity towards the initiative. The campaign has won a number of public service awards from across the world. Breakthrough, an organization founded by Mallika Dutt, has successfully been able to address a number of issues which are very important, and which are at the same time, addressed in such a way so as to catch the attention of a large portion of the public eye. The Bell Bajao Campaign is one of their most successful initiatives towards the issue of violence against women in India.