She was 23, with dreams of being a doctor but three weeks ago, she was gang raped by six men, savagely beaten and thrown out of a moving bus in Delhi. Last week, the still unnamed woman who has become “India’s daughter”, died of her injuries in hospital.
Namita Bhandare knows the constant fear that goes with living in Delhi, nicknamed India’s “rape capital”. Like others, she long believed that nothing would change. But the outpouring of anger and sadness now has convinced her that this could be a turning point for women like her.
The tragedy has sparked vigils and protests, and over 100,000 Indians have already signed Namita’s petition to the Indian President and Government. As the story reverberates around the world, being covered by every major news outlet, there’s a chance for people in the UK to stand alongside women in India and help show the Indian Government that its international reputation is on the line if it fails to act.
The story of “India’s daughter” has sparked deep grief and fury across India. Grief for her horrifying ordeal, and fury that politicians have ignored the huge problem of rape and sexual violence against women for so long.
According to crime statistics, a woman is raped every 22 minutes, and most rapists are never prosecuted. Women are often blamed for their own rapes, police refuse to hear reports from victims, and some women report being harassed by the very authorities they hope will protect them.
Politicians are being faced with some uncomfortable truths. But Namita says that unless people seize this moment of national consciousness, the chance to change anything will slip away. That’s why she’s asking for global support to show the world is watching.