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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Surrey remembers the Delhi braveheart

vancouverdesi.com   January 07, 2013
First Published: 12:48 IST(7/1/2013) | Last Updated: 12:51 IST(7/1/2013)

More than one hundred people gathered in the cold, damp rain at Surrey's Bear Creek Park on Sunday afternoon to stand united for women across the globe.

As supporters shielded their candles from the wind, the same message was repeated: "It's a man's problem, it's not a woman's problem."

A call to action has rippled across the world after a 23-year-old woman died after being viciously beaten and raped on a bus in New Delhi on December 16.

The highly publicised incident has forced India and non-resident Indians(NRIs) across the globe, to confront the reality,  that sexually assaulted and abused women are often ignored, blamed or discouraged from reporting the crime.

With protests and vigils erupting across Canada- many have happened in Surrey's South Asian community - hundreds have come out and braced the cold in parks and at temples since the young woman's death on December 29.

"We women - we're ready," said Lucky Gill, founder of Global Girl Power, the group organising the vigil.

"Enough is enough," she said, "It's not women - it's your upbringing that provokes you".
There was widespread agreement: For this to stop, it has to start with education at home - educating "our brothers and our sons."

Many activists and speakers repeated the fact that one woman is raped every 20 minutes in India.
As these numbers were repeated, a row of men, silently holding signs and showing their support lined the outskirts of the gathering.

"It shows me there are kind-hearted people out there," said Gill. "That we're ready for change."
Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode agreed and thanked the men for their support.

"If she had boarded the bus with good men that day we wouldn't be here," she said.

Dr Pargat Singh Bhurji one of participant in the vigil and a father of three said that the heinous crime hits close to home. His eldest daughter reminds him of the victim. She too is 23 and studying medicine.

"Rape is not just a woman's problem - it's a global humanitarian problem, a global family problem," he said, adding "I am optimistic we can implement change".

And while it may seem far off for a nation overseas to implement that change, Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning, executive director of the World Sikh Organisation of Canada said everyone must "stand in solidarity".

"The reality is that it is upto the citizens there," she said. "(But this) gives people in India strength …when they know their neighbours won't turn away."

"They're not alone," she said.

A petition calling for action was passed and Global Girl Power would submit it to the consular general of India (CGI) on Monday.

vancouverdesi.com

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