December 16 is the 3rd anniversary of the horrific attack and rape of Jyoti Singh, later called Nirbhaya, in a neighborhood not far from where were living in Delhi. She died of her wounds shortly after, galvanizing a movement in India to speak up about the prevalence of violence against women.
The outcry garnered international attention, a critically acclaimed play (“Nirbhaya“) and a fine film, banned in India, (“India’s Daughter“.) The event was very much the backdrop for SPOILED, the play I created last year. Today, however, three years on, it is clear that meaningful change will be slow at best.
Nirbhaya The Play is still in performance, currently in Canada, and India’s Daughter is widely available on PBS. I urge you to see them.
My friends at MAVA (Men Against Violence and Abuse) in Mumbai are organizing one of many commemorative events today as well.
In the meantime, Smita Sharma has been interviewing and photographing rape victims and their families in India since she was 18. An exhibit of her work is now on display in Delhi but, thanks to the New York Times, you can see more of her photos and learn about her work with rape survivors here.
And, on a final worthwhile update, you can read or listen to more about Equal Community Foundation’s work with teenage boys. I have featured ECF before; NPR recently broadcast a story about them. It highlights interviews with some boys that are both utterly charming – teenage boys trying to figure out how to send love notes under the teacher’s watchful eye – and utterly dismaying – the rigid and almost humorously traditional ways that boys expect girls to behave. Take a look at Equal Community Foundation or listen to the story at NPR.