The India Gang Rape Victim's Name Is Jyoti Singh Pandey


What we write and say when we identify the 23-year-old medical school graduate who died two weeks after being viciously gang raped and beaten by six men on a moving bus in New Delhi, India: victim, catalyst for change, “India’s Daughter.”

But now we know her name: Jyoti Singh Pandey.

Her father, Badri, told The Sunday People that he wanted “the world to know her real name” because she’s so much more than just an anonymous victim.

“My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself,” he said. “I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”

His memories of Jyoti in the hospital are difficult to read:

“When I first saw her she was in the bed with her eyes closed.
“I put my hand on her forehead and called her name. She slowly opened her eyes and started crying and said she was in pain.
“I held my tears. I told her not to worry, have strength and everything will be all right.”

He also said that doctors expected her to live at first and that “she did write on some paper that she wanted to live, she wanted to survive and stay with us. But it was fate that had the last say in the end.”

Other, less horrible memories: Jyoti was an aspiring doctor who said she would change her impoverished family’s life once she got a job. “I told her I can’t afford to pay for her to do such subjects but she was determined,” he said of her ambition.

Five men (and a 17-year-old who is being tried separately as a juvenile) are charged with Jyoti’s rape and murder. Badri hopes they get the death penalty, and he hopes his daughter inspires change.

The Washington Post‘s Max Fisher has a good piece today on how the country might want to start: the police. They’re not the only ones to blame for propagating rape culture, but, as Fisher points out, they are the ones that are supposed to, well, police it:

However deep and broad these attitudes might go in Indian society, it’s to some extent the police who ensure they will be acted upon – by shaming victims, declining to investigate or otherwise perpetuating a system in which the woman or girl is presumed to somehow carry the real blame for what happened to her. Addressing problems with law enforcement would almost certainly not fix India’s sexual assault problem on its own, but it could go a long way.

[The Sunday People]
[Washington Post]

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