Feminist Ruchira Gupta said she was “excited about the new wave of feminism that hit the streets after the December gang rape.”[i] Laws passed the next year established six new courts to hear rape cases and imposed stricter punishments, as well as making stalking, voyeurism, trafficking and acid attacks criminal acts. Prison terms for rapists were increased to 20 years but official statistics say about 25,000 rapes occur each year. Activists say the actual number is much higher as women fear reporting rape to police. A mobile phone video of two sisters fighting back against an assault by three men on a crowded bus in Rohtak, near New Delhi, went viral in 2014 under the hashtag #RohtakBravehearts. As other passengers and bus driver did nothing to help them, Aatri and Pooja used a belt and fists to try to stop the men, who nevertheless succeeded in getting them off the bus.[ii] The girls found bricks to throw at the men and they ran away. A spokesperson for the National commission for Women said, “Few girls have the guts to take on the molesters. The government should take action.”
[i] Ruchira Gupta and Gloria Steinem, “Notes on a Tour of the Indian Women’s Movement,” New York Times, January 30, 2014.
[ii] “India’s ‘Braveheart’ Sisters Fight Back Against Sexual Predators,” Global Voices, December 3, 2014.