Today is the Third Anniversary of the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape

Trigger Warning

Three years ago today in Delhi a young woman and her friend boarded a bus. They were deposited a few miles and hours away both badly beaten, the woman raped and near death. The woman, dubbed Nirbhaya by the press, died of her injuries. 

In the wake of the attack, feminists, activists, and people across the city and country took to the streets in protests that were both enraged and visionary. The protests were about sexual violence and about the many issues that intersect with it. The struggle continues.

Ensuing movements challenged sexual violence from the streets to the home, from the public imaginary to sexual violence committed by soldiers at the state’s edges under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The resulting debates also challenged conservative cooptation of “women’s safety” by right-wing agendas.

In the wake of the rape, American media had a lot to say about how dangerous it was for women in India, how scary and violent it was, how scary and violent the Global South was. Tourism to India declined. A lot of the coverage conveniently forgot that sexual violence is also endemic to the United States; that it was a fundamental component of imperial domination; that it remains a fundamental component of imperial domination. That wherever there is violence, there are people who resist.

Nirbhaya in Hindi means “fearless.” May those of us who watched from the other side of the world learn from the fearlessness of contemporary Indian movements for freedom from violence in the family, community, state, and globe.

But first, may we remember.

Photo credit: Nilanjana Roy, Wikimedia Commons

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing her masters.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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