Three years ago, a young woman was brutally gang raped and murdered on a Delhi bus. The incident sparked unprecedented outrage – it brought thousands onto the streets, it ‘shocked the collective conscience of the nation’ and even led to an amendment of existing rape laws. It marked an important moment in India’s history, making for a shift in the discourse that surrounds sexual violence. Despite the rabid calls for capital punishment, the multitude of voices that were heard then, allowed for an expanded dialogue on rape – issues of rape within marriage and family, the need to repeal laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and include a special subsection on rapes committed by security forces, and the move away from seeing rape as the fault of the victim – informed and changed the nature of public discourse on sexual violence.
But while laws can be amended within the year, and courts fast-tracked, the everyday lives of most women continue to be informed by violence. Particularly those women who are economically and socially marginalized. As Kalpana Sharma reminds us, it should not take an anniversary or 16 days of activism to be reminded of something that happens everyday. Continue reading