Breakthrough is a globally recognized leader in the inventive, innovative promotion of human rights and social change. Working out of centers in the U.S. and India for over a decade, we create cutting-edge pop culture and innovative education to bring human rights issues and values into the mainstream. Our multimedia campaigns — along with our in-depth trainings of young people, government officials, and community groups — have ignited new generations of leaders to act for local and global human rights.
Breakthrough's Work on Ending Violence Against Women
Today, Breakthrough is addressing the critical global issue of violence against women. Violence against women is the most widespread – and tolerated – human rights violation in the world today. It is also one of the most intimate – often reaching people in their homes and within their most personal relationships. But what if simple acts, undertaken by individuals, particularly men and boys, in communities across the globe, could change this?
They can. It’s happening now and expanding every day.
Bell Bajao ("Ring the Bell" in Hindi) is a campaign that calls on men and boys to challenge violence in the home and advance women’s human rights. Bell Bajao has put the power to stop violence in millions of hands with more than 130 million people reached via television and mass media, 7.5 million people reached through video vans traveling over 15,000 miles, and 75,000 youth, community leaders, non-profit groups and government actors educated through deeply transformative human rights leadership training. Bell Bajao has created dramatic changes in attitudes and actions, an increased understanding of stopping violence as a shared responsibility, and has helped interrupt and prevent tens of thousands of violent acts against women.
The campaign consists of a series of six television ads, developed pro bono by Ogilvy + Mather (India), which depict men and boys ringing doorbells to interrupt overheard domestic violence. The ads, have received numerous awards worldwide, including the Cannes Silver Lion. The ads, alongside community mobilization has been the key to achieving scale and impact. India’s “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” has featured Bell Bajao and popular soap operas have included storylines about the campaign. High profile actors, artists and fashion designers have joined the campaign, enabling influential events and features in the media. On the web, BellBajao.org has seen one million plus visits with a domestic violence-themed blog, social media engagement, and an interactive Google map showing domestic violence service providers generating tremendous user engagement and dialogue. On the ground, video vans have carried the campaign message into villages and town using street theater, puppetry, and games to engage directly with individuals about women’s rights. These have operated alongside Breakthrough’s Rights Advocates Program, imparting training and community education on women's rights to influencers such as police, service providers, government actors, community-based organizations and university students. Thorough external research shows that Bell Bajao has measurably increased awareness of India's Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, requests for services for women, and the number of people acting to interrupt or end violence against women.
Today, Breakthrough is taking Bell Bajao global through the Ring the Bell campaign. We are calling on men and boys worldwide to commit to Ring the Bell by taking concrete action to stand up against violence against women in all forms. Between March 8 (International Women’s Day) and November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women), we will secure the promises of one million men around the world to help address, challenge and end violence against women. As current events continue to prove, laws alone are not enough. We need individual and collective action to challenge the habits, norms, and cultures that perpetuate violence. One man adds up to one million; one million acts add up to change.
With UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon  as its first global ambassador, the campaign has been adapted in China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and more. New global partners include Sonke Gender Justice (South Africa), Promundo (Brazil), and A Call To Men (New York). Promises will be aggregated and displayed in vibrant online and offline spaces, encouraging sharing and inspiring others to make their own. Promises may involve: challenging comments that disrespect women; acting as role models for younger boys; advocating for women’s safety and rights; donating funds, expertise, corporate assets; and more.
Together we can build a safer world.
- Overview of the campaign: Ring the Bell
- Bell Bajao's six television ads
- Youth in India on rights: videos
- video for the campaign
- Video: Bell Bajao's First Global Champion: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
- Video: Global Ring the Bell
- Online Discussion with Wikigender on "Transforming social norms to prevent violence against women and girls" (4-13 February 2013)