Candlelight vigil held in Hong Lim Park: Men in skirts pledge to support women



Singapore: Approximately 350 people held a candlelight vigil on Sunday at Hong Lim Park for “Amanat” the 23 year old paramedical student who died after being gang-raped on a bus in Delhi last month. The victim succumbed to her injuries last month after she was transferred to Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore for further treatment.

The gathering was organised by an informal group through social media and of women motivated by shared remembrance and sense of group participation.

The talks were interspersed by motivational songs, said Amita Sarwal, who led a group of volunteers to organise the Sunday evening vigil.

"The event was to remind each one of us that this journey of change has just begun, a pledge was taken by all present, basically, promising to do their bit to take a stand on women's equality, respect and safety," Amita said.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from people in Singapore from all walks of life, educationists, doctors, lawyers, artists, musicians, writers, professionals, and many more," she said.

Subina Khaneja who owns media company, said “change themselves first” in order to be able to change others.

Aman Narain, a 36-year-old banker and avid blogger, said "Violence against women comes from a lack of respect and education and I am passionate about making sure those values are embedded in my workplace and any community I am able to touch. Deeply shocked and angered by the recent events in India I am motivated further to drive these values harder and wider than before".

The meet also saw professionals sharing their views and perspectives on violence against women, gender bias and law and order.

Visual artist and designer Ketna Patel, said she believed the complex, multi-faceted society we live in is responsible for desensitisation in many cases.

"We all live in an elaborate and sensitive web of humanity, where, according to quantum physics, one person's thoughts on one side of the world can affect many, thousands of miles away".

Dr Shirin Jacob, 53, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist also touched upon the issue of women's safety at home.

"Sadly, the unsafe space for many women and children (rape victims) was in their own homes… In a situation with extremely unsafe adults. As they say, the fox was in the chicken coop," she said.

Dressed in colourful skirt, a group of 15 men from different walks of life joined candlelight vigil at Hong Lim Park here, pledging support to women and their rights.

"The message we wanted give to the world was that a particular dress does not lead to sexual harassment or rape of a woman", said  one of the men in skirt.

The December 16 incident that happened on a moving bus in Delhi sparked angry protests in the Indian capital.