I am Nirbhaya
I AM NIRBHAYA
(The script of a documentary produced by Video Volunteers. Those interested in screening this film, please write to email@example.com)
I will not forget what happened today one year ago. It was today, December 16, that Nirbhaya was attacked.
I will not forget the public outrage against this heinous of crimes.
I will not forget the hundreds of thousands of voices across the country and the world, crying for justice…and justice was delivered too.
However sexual assaults and rapes continue. In fact in Delhi they have nearly doubled since Nirbhaya was raped.
A new rape case is reported every 22 minutes in India.
Sexual violence is rampant because you think you can get away with it and that I will be too ashamed to report it. If I do speak up you think you can shut me up.
Intimidating me and family is a common tactic to ensure that I will not tell anyone. If I am a Dalit the intimidation is severe and will extend to my whole community.
Nirbhaya’s attackers were tried and convicted because of the public outrage. But, let’s not forget that this was the only conviction of the 706 cases reported in Delhi in that year.
Even when I, and my family, gather enough courage to file a report, the police will often refuse to register the offense.
I often worry about my safety and the patriarchal rule is quick to clamp down on my mobility as a protective measure!
Often I am told that I was assaulted because of the way I carry myself. The way I walk, the way I talk. Often I am told that ‘I asked for it’. How do you explain when a 7 year old is preyed on? Did she ‘ask for it’?
Why am I told that to be raped is to lose my dignity? Why is it that I am the one to lose face after being raped? Why is it that no rapist is ever consumed by the shame of his act?
When I threaten the male ego, if I resist, if I have an independent mind, then your manhood wants to teach me a lesson. Rape is another weapon in your armory to wage your patriarchal war
Rapes will not stop until you stop thinking of my body as an object.
It will not stop until you stop telling me what I should do and what I should think.
It will not stop until you stop transacting me for a dowry.
It will not stop until you think I should cook and clean for you just because you have married me.
It will not stop until you stop making a list of do’s and don’ts for me.
It will not stop until you consider me your equal.
And equal not just notionally but equal in rights, in opportunities, in inheritance, in property, and everything else you have kept as your privilege.
I am Nirbhaya.
I know no fear.
And I will stop you from stopping me to live my life the way I want.