US to honor Delhi gang-rape victim

nirbhayaWASHINGTON: ‘Nirbhaya’, the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim, will be posthumously honored by the US with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award for inspiring people to fight against gender-based violence.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry would present the award on March 8, an official announcement said.

The girl, a paramedical student, was brutally raped by six men in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 last year which triggered nationwide protests.

She was shifted to a Singapore hospital for treatment where she succumbed to her injuries on December 29.

“For millions of Indian women, her personal ordeal, perseverance to fight for justice, and her family’s continued bravery is helping to lift the stigma and vulnerability that drive violence against women,” the State Department said about her as it announced the awards to be given to 10 women from across the world.

She bravely recorded two police statements while in the hospital, repeatedly called for justice against the attackers, and stated her will to survive to see justice done, it said.

“Like many Indians inspired by her struggle, she was born into a working class family that invested their hopes and life savings into her dream to pursue medicine,” it said.

“In the wake of her death just two weeks after the attack, India’s civil society began advocating heavily for legislation and social programs to stem gender-based violence in all its forms and to ensure higher rape conviction rates and gender-sensitive law enforcement and justice systems.

“Thanks to these efforts, the Indian government has begun to take action to follow through on those demands,” the State Department said.

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk.

Since inception of the award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 67 women from 45 different countries. -PTI

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