Protests began when a 23 year old student died after being gang-raped in New Delhi. Quickly, the government has come under scrutiny and patriarchal society is being publicly criticised in a way that India has never before seen.
As more shocking stories emerge this new year about the scale and degree of violence against women in India, the people are gathering together in support and democratic spirit.
It needs an understanding, across society, that a woman is not a commodity for entertainment, but an equal human being.
- Battula Karthik Navayan
ActionAid-ers from across India and their friends have been sharing photos, poetry and reactions from the demonstrations, which you can see throughout this article.
The protests have attracted the attention of the world’s media, and they know it. Exposed but inward-looking, in a show of strength and self-reflection that should inspire many of us to consider doing the same, a unified message can be heard loud and clear. As the world watches and listens the people of India are taking action - and they should be proud of it.
We salute a spirit that fought such great odds. Today we also salute all such women, named and unnamed, who have helped us inch forward to make this world more just, less violent, and suffered the consequences on their bodies, minds and souls, and continue to do right now as we speak.
- Sehjo Singh
All over New Delhi, and across the country, demonstrations are being held, messages shared and actions taken, led by women.
What we are seeing is a very crucial point in our democratic history where women are taking charge. It is important that this energy is kept alive. Dalit and tribal women, who face violence of a similar kind most of the time, are in solidarity.
- Navin Narayan
ActionAid India hold women’s rights at the very heart of what they do and we know that violence against women is an integral component of poverty reduction. We want to see better recognition and renewed commitment towards prioritising a violence-free life for women and girls globally, and people in India are mobilising to do this with passion and perseverance.
Socially rabid behavior is the end result of social messages and reinforcements we instill in a, human being, as a collective society. “Male” manifestations are “acquired” not “biologically inherited”.
- Kalyan Satpathy
Amidst the tragedies of news stories about violence against women, not yet showing signs of relenting, there is hope to be found among the people who are making themselves visible, their voices heard. The messages they show - directed at their government, their society and to the world - may be different in wording but share the same message and spirit of action: This violence must stop.