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Why should we be made to cover our faces, asks rape survivor at HT Woman Awards

Women who featured at the HT Woman Awards, each urging people to demolish conventional practices that seek to put women

lucknow Updated: Apr 29, 2018 23:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
rape survivors,HT Woman Awards
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath with awardees at the HT Woman Award function in Lucknow on Sunday. (Dheeraj Dhawan/HT Photo)

A girl who had been sexually assaulted by her father’s friend walked on the HT Woman Awards stage without a veil on Sunday.

“Why should victims be made to cover their faces? The law helps but more than legal justice, it is social acceptability that’s needed,” said Sakshi Vidyarthi, who said she has featured in a documentary on the story of her life and wants to appear in a film next. Hindustan Times is naming her on her request.

“The chief minister sir is in the audience. Sir, would you have been able to notice my pain had I sat in a corner, my face covered?” she asked Yogi Adityanath, who was the chief guest at the function.

Vidyarthi was among several women who featured at the HT Woman Awards, each urging people to demolish conventional practices that seek to put women down.

The CM said the society needs to speak up against injustice.

Citing an incident from the epic Mahabharata about Draupadi being disrobed by the Kauravas, with several men remaining silent, he said: “At that time, too, Vidur had said that even those who remained silent would be considered guilty along with those who perpetrated the act.”

He announced that he had ordered the creation of three women battalions for better security of women.

“My government is striving to create a system where women can walk back to their homes from airports, railway and bus stations at midnight without fear. That could be a yardstick (for women’s security),” Adityanath said.

The HT Woman Award was given to Mumbai-based Dr Roshan Jahan, who lost both her legs after being pushed out from a local train but she fought 90% disability and went on to clear medical examinations to prove to the world that “nothing is impossible”. Originally from Azamgarh, she is the daughter of a vegetable vendor.

There was more to the function than the awards. There were survivors who are fighting a system that seeks to view them as the weaker sex. There were mothers who are helping rape survivors. And there were go-getters from the police and army.

The mother of the December 16 Delhi gang rape victim emphasised the need for a speedier punishment to culprits, and stressed the need to fight discrimination against women.

Film director Anubhav Sinha, who also spoke at the event, said: “I feel that the root of the problem is when we tell a girl that you are ‘less than a boy’. Not just men, but women are equally to be blamed for this notion. We need to educate our sons on how to respect women.”

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 23:41 IST