Canımız Kampüste: Lessons on the Streets

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Canımız Kampüste: Lessons on the Streets

Istanbul, Turkey
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Canımız Kampüste breaks the silence on harassment and gender-based violence. Powered by local university students and armed with digital media, Istanbul ‘is alive on campus.’

The 2011 Global Gender Gap Report ranks Turkey 122nd of 135 countries for systematically disenfranchising women. In the face of daily harassment, Turkish leaders advise women to stay home to prevent ill-treatment. Yet, 42% of women experience physical and sexual violence by a husband or relatives at some point. Combating a culture valuing female servitude and introversion, Canımız Kampüste targets students as an important first step in a larger movement for openness and progress. This university program uses real-world and digital tools to address publically excluded women’s issues: harassment, body image, and economic empowerment.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The 2011 Global Gender Gap Report ranks Turkey 122nd of 135 countries for systematically disenfranchising women in political and economic life. In the face of daily violence and harassment, Turkish leaders advise women to stay home to prevent ill-treatment. Yet, 42% of women experience physical and sexual violence by a husband or relatives at some point in their lives. Combating a culture valuing female servitude and introversion, Canımız Kampüste targets students as an important first step in a larger movement for openness, inclusion, and progress. This university program uses real-world and digital tools to address women’s issues excluded from public discourse in Turkey: harassment, body image, and economic empowerment.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We talk, we don’t turn away. Canımız Kampüste begins to crack open the silence of harassment through engaging university students in the discourse surrounding street harassment, particularly the topics of economic autonomy, rape culture, and discrimination. We design events with the internal culture of each campus in mind, while also generally focused on self-esteem building, story sharing, identifying responses to harassers, and including men in women’s issues (which conventionally excludes male participation in Turkey). Held each semester, these university initiatives have included: video and photography campaigns by students (Spring 2012 ‘Break the Silence’), student bloggers on our website, workshops providing safety tips in Istanbul, panel discussions, film showings (“Miss Representation” and “War Zone”), student generated art exhibits, and story collections moderated by a psychologist and lawyer.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Students involved in Canımız Kampüste gain invaluable skills and exposure to the real issues affecting gender equality. In our seven workshops, six story sharing events, and 13 panel discussions last academic year, students collaborated, problem-solved, and harnessed effective techniques to respond to street harassment both in instances when they are a victim as well as a witness. Sema, a Bilgi University student, shared: “Apart from the importance of these activities in making harassment visible, I am very happy to now know others who care about changing our reality. This makes me feel stronger in finding solutions for these issues even after I graduate.” Canımız Kampüste shows films like “Miss Representation”, using it as a platform to demonstrate that harassment can be a barrier to professional ambition for women. Through this lens, we encourage female students to take on more leadership positions as Canımız Kampüste Student Leaders and through circulating various leadership opportunities in our online platforms. Also, we have connected students from disparate universities with two online university campaigns through the production of films, images, blog posts and student resources. Using technology as a creative tool and base for political voice against street harassment, female students are rapidly engineering approaches to end gender-based aggression that bar women from public spaces in Turkey and perpetuate a culture of submission.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We are currently the only organization dedicated to street harassment, and the only organization in Istanbul with university programming. Past Canımız Kampüste partnerships have included: LAMBDA (a local LGBTQ organziation) to discuss heteronormative discrimination, Cinsel Şiddete Karşı Kadın Platformu (a website reporting on violence against women) to look at online women’s media, the US Consulate which assisted in holding a free screening of “Miss Representation”, and Zaman and Hurriyet newspapers to discuss harassment in the workplace of female journalists. We will co-host a workshop with Değişim Liderleri Derneği’nin (an organization empowering female students) in Fall 2012.
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