Nirbhaya: what is the way forward?

Yael Farber’s internationally acclaimed play, Nirbhaya is currently touring India. It is a play based around the personal testimonies of women who have survived sexual violence and an evocation of the Delhi rape case of 16 December 2012. Nirbhaya has played to audiences around the world and met very similar reactions to the global problem of sexual violence: how do we move forward from here?

As part of Nirbhaya’s India tour, the actors and associate partners – the British Council, Oxfam and UN Women are supporting several ‘Way Forward Discussions’, which are open forums for people to share their ideas on we can advance on this issue.

In the ‘Way Forward’ discussion in Delhi, we were joined by great speakers: Huma Masood, UNESCO, Sonali Khan, Breakthrough, Keerti, ActionAid India, Manak Matiyani, Must Bol Campaign and Poorna Jagannathan, actor in Nirbhaya.

During the discussion, some very important points were raised, including:

  • The key to this problem is the prevention of violence and being critical of our social norms. Violence against women is accepted and normalised in India.
  • We need to reach out to various audiences, we can’t continue to speak to the ‘converted’.
  • Violence is about power and subjugating another person. This issue is about the framework of power.
  • All genders are responsible for this issue, the onus is not on just women or just men.
  • The culture of shame and silence about sexual violence is universal.
  • Sexual violence is a cultural and a social development issue.
  • The time is right to take action and engage more people in this issue.

But most importantly, the discussion focused on actions that we can take to change attitudes and strengthen our support systems:

  • Use popular culture and new media to engage different audiences, especially young people.
  • Demand that more budget is allocated to implementing the laws against domestic violence.
  • Women are kept without resources and thus unable to acquire power. The government needs to strengthen the social security system to enable women to be independent.
  • Translate Nirbhaya into Hindi and play around with different pricing structures so we can take this to more people.
  • We need to work at all levels, grass roots to policy, in a decentralised manner with various mediums and forums.

Do you agree? What do you think is the way forward?

Post by: Emer Coyle

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One thought on “Nirbhaya: what is the way forward?

  1. forrest st

    A country with 47 % of the total population as females has witnessed the worst case scenario on 16 december 2012 , a day to be highlighted as black spot on India and the whole world and has eventually created a need to aware the masses to fight against any kind of violence ( verbal , domestic or sexual ) , molestation and gender discrimination . Its a bright move to share ideas and spread awareness in the masses to avoid any such heinous activity in future and a deserving contribution for United Nations Women of Courage. Nice job !


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