US to honour Indian rape victim as woman of
or "Fearless," the victim of a gang rape in a Delhi bus, who
became the focus of women around India and their fight against
gender-based violence, is among ten extraordinary women being
honoured Friday with the Secretary of
the "Fearless" Delhi gang rape victim, has been honoured with a US
"woman of courage" award posthumously for "inspiring people to
work together to end violence against women in India and around
US first lady Michelle Obama joined Secretary of State John Kerry
as he praised the determination and courage of "a woman known
simply as Nirbhaya - brave heart, fearless" at the State
Department presentation ceremony Friday on International Women's
"Her bravery inspired millions of women and men to come together
with a simple message: No more. No more looking the other way when
gender-based violence happens. No more stigma against victims or
survivors," said Kerry.
"Nirbhaya's fight survives her," he said announcing the award "for
inspiring people to work together to end violence against women in
India and around the world by displaying immense courage in
The audience stood up and observed a moment of silence after he
read out the citation.
Kerry also read part of a statement from Nirbhaya's mother and
father saying, "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."
"Today, our message to the world is: do not tolerate any attack on
your dignity and honor; do not silently bear ill treatment," they
"Earlier, women would keep silent and hide away when they were
subjected to sexual misconduct," Nirbhaya's parents said.
Now "Women, both in India and in the rest of the world, refuse to
be stigmatized and will not keep silent anymore," they said. "This
incident has opened their minds and empowered them. They are no
longer scared of what anyone will say."
Besides Nirbhaya, eight other women were give the annual award
recognizing women around the globe who have shown exceptional
courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and
empowerment, often at great personal risk.
They are Malalai Bahaduri, first sergeant, Afghan National
Interdiction Unit (Afghanistan); Julieta Castellanos, rector,
National Autonomous University of Honduras (Honduras); Josephine
Obiajulu Odumakin, president, Campaign for Democracy (Nigeria);
Elena Milashina, journalist, human rights activist (Russia);
Fartuun Adan, executive director, Elman Peace and Human Rights
Centre (Somalia); Tsering Woeser (Wei Se), Tibetan author, poet,
blogger (China); Razan Zeitunah, human rights lawyer and founder,
Local Coordination Committees (Syria) and Ta Phong Tan, blogger
(Arun Kumar can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)