Case Studies and bedtime stories

The EMBABE Diaries

Good night, fearless one

on April 11, 2013

It’s Thursday morning and I’m heading over to London for another school weekend. Before boarding the plane, I picked up a copy of Newsweek’s “125 Women of Impact” issue, which I turn to now, unable to face schoolwork so early in the day. The first article I get to read, though, is not about women CEOs, astronauts or prime ministers. It’s an article about a young Indian woman who had dreamed of becoming a doctor. A brave, intelligent, unbelievably hard-working 23-year old, and her dream, cut short last December, when she was gang-raped and tortured by six men in the back of a van, in an affluent New Delhi neighbourhood. She died of her injuries 13 days later. The article is restrained in its description of the facts, but it says enough to leave me shaking, tears streaming down my face as I stare out the window, feeling so powerless it hurts. 
She is now known as “Nirbhaya” (the fearless one) and her ordeal sparked unprecedented public protests in India. She was posthumously honored as an International Woman of Courage and the Indian government set up a US$ 200 million “Nirbhaya Fund” aimed at promoting safety for women. I set aside my quarrels with religion for a moment and offer a prayer for Nirbhaya, hoping against hope that my daughter gets to live in a world where awards and funds like these no longer have reason to exist. But hope has left me this morning, gone in search of a safe place I can’t help her find.

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