Every day, women around the world are subjected to violence in its many forms: domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and harmful traditional practices. As long as violence against women persists, women’s human rights are restricted.
This Monday, March 9, Vital Voices Global Partnership and Plan International, along with Leslee Udwin, Freida Pinto and Meryl Streep, will present the U.S. premiere of India’s Daughter. This film is much more than a documentary about violence against women; it is a powerful platform for cultural change on a global scale. This provocative film tells the devastating, true story of the gang rape that shook the world and took Jyoti Singh’s life in New Delhi, India in 2012. Director Leslee Udwin asks us all to consider and challenge the social norms that perpetuate violence against women around the world.
This documentary is important because it answers the question that everyone has asked, “Who could do such a thing?” The film reveals the shocking but ingrained cultural norms that continue to persist among some men and women in our society, and it paints with vivid detail the thought processes of the perpetrators who commit these crimes. Only by exposing the attitudes and beliefs that result in violence against women can we address and prevent that violence from occurring.
Vital Voices partners with women and men who are working to end violence against women. These leaders ensure that perpetrators are held accountable and that survivors receive the services they need, and the justice they deserve. By advancing the full implementation of laws, increasing public awareness and supporting the sustainability of victims’ support services, we contribute to the creation of a world where women are free from violence.
Some of Vital Voices’ pre-eminent leaders in this space are the brothers Ravi, Nishi, and Rishi Kant from Delhi, India, who founded Shakti Vahini, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women. About this film, attorney and co-founder Ravi Kant says:
“The film really brings out the hidden demons of the society and their pervasive mindset. These demons have to be brought out in the open. We have to end this culture of silence and being silenced. We have to discuss such issues in the open. We have to confront and tackle this mentality.”
The entire world must heed this wise and brave call. It’s not just India – it’s everywhere. Each of us must summon the moral courage to expose the appalling attitudes and beliefs which lie at the core of horrific offenses like the one that claimed Jyoti’s life. We must have the fortitude and perseverance to extinguish this mindset from our communities, and to support leaders who use their voice and agency to advocate for change. So I implore everyone to watch this documentary. Speak out. Demand nonviolence.
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