India’s Daughter: why we need to talk about rape culture around the world
India’s daughter is our daughter too.
Horror, rage and hope.
Those are the emotions that stuck with me after I watched the powerful documentary India's Daughter last week at the first Global Health Film Festival.
The film documents the brutal and tragic gang rape of Jyoti, a 23 year old medical student, in Delhi back in December 2012.
Horror for obvious reasons. Jyoti, a young girl who would now be the same age as me, was just about to qualify as a doctor. She had begged her father to use the money saved for her wedding to educate her and was a completely inspiring woman. On 16 December, she met a male friend to go to the cinema where she was attacked by a group of men, beaten, dragged onto a bus and repeatedly raped while the bus drove around the highway for hours. Details of the brutal murder that then happened are too awful to write down.
This obviously moves you onto rage. In the film, you hear interviews with the rapists who believe they have done nothing wrong. One of the rapist explains "it takes two hands to clap" and this young women needed to be taught a lesson for being out at night without her family. The attack happened at 8pm.
You listen in disbelief as they say that by punishing rapists, you're making it less safe for women, because now they will certainly be murdered, whereas before when women didn't speak out they would be allowed to live.
Surprisingly however, the documentary also evokes hope. As horrifying as what happened to Jyoti is, her death catalyzed an unstoppable movement in India. Something inside India snapped on December 16, 2012 and brought the entrenched societal attitude towards women held by these rapists to the forefront.
What followed the attack was was an incredibly powerful reaction of a devastated nation. Thousands and thousands of people took to the streets across the country. The courts, institutions and the government of India were bombarded by waves of protestors demanding change, with both men and women taking a stand for the millions of girls like Jyoti who society has failed.
As a result of the uprisings, new laws were passed and systems put in place to catch and prosecute rape in a much more efficient manner. There is a long way to go to end violence against women in India, but the movement that emerged from the brutality of Jyoti’s rape has lit a torch of hope that change is coming.
India’s Daughter is currently screening in cinemas around the world. To find out where you can watch this powerful film and get involved in the movement, visit: Our Daughter Too