US honours Delhi Braveheart with International Women of Courage Award
Known the world as ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless), the Delhi braveheart, who was gangraped in Delhi in December 2012, was honored posthumously with International Women of Courage Award by the First Lady Michelle Obama and the Secretary of State John Kerry.
Here is the message that Nirbhaya’s parents had sent for the occasion, which was read by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry:
“We never imagined that the girl we thought was our daughter would one day be the daughter of the entire world. She was meant to be the daughter of the world. This is a huge achievement in itself.
“She was always different from other children. Other children cry when being sent to school, but she was an extraordinary child who would cry when she was not going to school. She was a happy girl, and even in times of struggle she would stay cheerful. We gave equal treatment to all our three children; there was no discrimination because of her being a girl. Our daughter was made of steel – once she decided she had to do something, there was no looking back. She would work at call centers during nights, and study during day. She’d never get enough time to sleep, just about two hours at the most. And despite the odds, and our poverty, she always managed to achieve and move ahead. She had just one goal in life, to study and become a doctor.
“Today, our message to the world is: do not tolerate any attack on your dignity and honor; do not silently bear ill treatment. Earlier, women would keep silent and hide away when they were subjected to sexual misconduct. They would not report it to the police, nor lodge any complaints. They were scared of the stigma. That has changed – the fear is now gone. And while her end was horrendous, her case is imparting strength to all women to fight and to improve the system. Women, both in India and in the rest of the world, refuse to be stigmatized and will not keep silent anymore. This incident has opened their minds and empowered them. They are no longer scared of what anyone will say.”