Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The woman behind the Nirbhaya movement

Yogita Bhayana was in the same mall where Nirbhaya spent her last day. Today she leads a foundation for women against rape

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The woman behind the Nirbhaya movement.

A little over seven years ago, after a 23 year old was brutally raped in a moving bus in the national capital leading to her death, public outrage and protests began not only in India but abroad also. The protests which continued for several months came to an end but there was someone whose life changed completely – Yogita Bhayana, an ordinary Delhi girl who was so moved by the whole movement that she went on to become the actual face of what is now known as “The Nirbhaya Movement”

Bhayana, a social activist, who runs a foundation called “PARI – People Against Rapes in India” while speaking exclusively to IANS said: “When Nirbhaya incident happened I really couldn’t control myself and went out on the streets. The reason I could relate to her was that unfortunately I was in the same mall at that time where she (Nirbhaya) had come out after watching the movie.”

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“The beauty of this whole protest was that this huge movement was without a face, but because the emotions were charged up everyone went in the same direction,” she said.

Narrating the challenges that came up in the movement, she said: “We were detained a lot of times during the protests. Tear gas and lathicharge were a new normal then. In one of the protests, one of my legs also broke, however, it really didn’t matter at that time because it was all for a bigger cause and we really wanted justice.”

Elaborating about when Nirbhaya’s mother became a part of this movement, Bhayana said: “It was the time when the juvenile in the case was about to be freed, we didn’t want that as he was the main culprit so we decided to protest. I asked Asha Ji (Nirbhaya’s mother) to join the protest. She was really apprehensive about it and was in two minds but when we reached there, Asha ji also joined us and it was then and there when she became a part and parcel of this revolutionary movement.”

Since then, Yogita has been working with activists and social workers towards helping rape victims by not only giving them legal support but also psychological and social help.

Throwing light on it she said, “The work span is really broad, it’s not only the victim or survivor that we deal with but the whole family. We help in rehabilitating and relocating the victim and her family. We also provide psychological help to the victims by providing them counselling and other assistance.”


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