The last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. As a long-time feminist and human rights, I am both horrified by the recent gang rape and murder in Delhi—and hopeful that the remarkable outrage in response means that change is on the way.
I am filled with deep anger and sorrow–sorrow that this brave young woman died, and anger at the levels of violence that women face at home, in the streets and in the workplace every day. I am also angry that it took such a brutal incident for the country to react and take to the streets. And as well-intentioned as it may be, one narrative that is also making me angry is the one that calls on men to think about women as their mother, sister, wife or daughter–as if this relational understanding will somehow lead to a change in mindset and make men allies. This kind of thinking only reinforces the relational and dependent way in which men view women. And women certainly don’t experience any kind of equality as a wife, mother, sister or daughter in their homes. Men need to change their mindsets and see women as fully human, as full citizens, as people entitled to human rights in their own right!
All of that said, I have been particularly heartened to see the number of young men joining women in demanding change and accountability for women’s safety and security. I am hoping that this moment will mark India’s transition from a country that is the worst place for women to one that will lead the charge for serious recognition of women’s human rights the world over.