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Saturday, October 17, 2015

"India's Daughter" A Rape Documentary

This controversial film reminds audiences of the worldwide epidemic of violence against women.

There was no remorse in Mukesh Singh’s eyes as he spoke of his role in the brutal gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student who boarded a bus in 2012 and was attacked before being left for dead, naked and bleeding on a roadside in Delhi, India.

“It takes two hands to clap,” Singh, who drove the bus on which the rape took place, tells filmmaker Leslee Udwin in the documentary India’s Daughter. (Mukesh Singh and Jyoti Singh are not related.) “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.”

Through a series of dramatic reenactments and grueling interviews with the victim’s parents, friends, and the rapists found guilty for her death, Udwin’s film recounts the story of Jyoti Singh’s last days. She had seen a movie that night with a male friend, and the young students were on their way home when they boarded the bus on which they were attacked and beaten. Singh was dragged to the back of the bus and repeatedly raped before being left for dead. She died as a result of her injuries two weeks later.

The vicious attack ignited a month of protests and turned the world’s eye to India, and to the longstanding epidemic of rape throughout the country. Udwin told a New York audience on Wednesday evening that it was this peaceful, persistent uprising—and the government’s forceful attempts to shut it down—that captured her attention and drew her to the subject.

While India’s Daughter focuses heavily on the story of the victim and the uprising that followed, it is a potent reminder of a human problem that is global in scope: sexualized violence against women.
“This is not India-centric,” Udwin told Katie Couric in a discussion following the screening. “It’s just a question of degree and characteristic country to country, but it’s absolutely the same disease…it’s called gender inequality.
The film, first aired by BBC in March and to be broadcast by PBS Nov. 16, was banned by the Indian government and attracted criticism from many in India’s feminist movement, who said the title suggested ownership and borrowed the language of the patriarchy. The phrase “India’s daughter” was first used by Indian media to describe Singh after her rape and death—it is customary for the media not to name a rape victim out of respect for her family. Her family ultimately revealed her name to the press in January 2013 to drive home the point that what happened to her is not shameful and not her fault.
Other critics said Udwin spent undue time amplifying the voice of convicted rapists rather than the many feminist activists in the country who have long waged a battle against India’s deeply entrenched rape culture.
“The only voice that she has managed to give an international platform to, other than her own, is that of a rapist,” Uditi Sen, a professor of South Asian History at Hampshire College, wrote on the website Open Democracy after the film’s release.
This critique of the film is broad; it seems to overlook the many interviews with Jyoti Singh’s parents, who plainly championed feminism through their support of their daughter: To put her through medical school, they sold their ancestral land and used money saved for her wedding.
To Udwin, speaking to the rapists themselves was a crucial part of getting to the bottom of how such a heinous crime could not only take place but appear to be such a normalized part of a place and its culture. In India, a woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the country’s National Crime Records Bureau.
“If we hope to change these men, how could we not go to the source?” Udwin told Couric of her choice to allocate so much screen time to one of the rapists.
As the film illustrates, Mukesh Singh’s blunt view of the victim as complicit in her fate is not just a view trumpeted by men trapped in a cycle of poverty in India’s lower castes, as Jyoti’s rapists were. It would be easy to assume the lack of access to education for many in these communities fosters the culture of misogyny and male supremacy that enables men to treat women as objects to use and discard. But interviews with two of the rapists’ defense lawyers, both highly educated men, suggest otherwise.
“If my daughter or sister engaged in premarital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight,” defense lawyer A.P. Singh said on live television in India after his clients were sentenced to death by hanging in 2013.
In another interview, with defense lawyer M.L. Sharma, the attorney told Udwin that India has “the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”
These statements may come as a shock to Western audiences, but they reflect many studies and anecdotes that reveal rampant bias and discrimination against women that tends to more subtly play itself out in boardrooms, on sidewalks, and in advertisements throughout the U.S. Though the attorneys’ language may be a more vulgar, verbal manifestation of male supremacy, rape culture is alive and well on our shores, as seen in the rise of campus sexual assaults and rape.
To Udwin, this points to a need to change the way young people are taught about empathy, respect, and equality.
“If it’s compulsory for a child to learn mathematics, surely it should be compulsory to learn human rights,” she said.
To reach that goal, Udwin is working with the United Nations and a coalition of supporters to develop what she calls the Equality Studies Global Initiative. The group aims to create a curriculum for children ages three to seven, followed by a program for kids ages eight to 13 and 14 to 18. They are seeking the commitment of education ministers and heads of state worldwide to help them put their plan into action over the next three years.

Documentary Sheds a Critical Light on India to Amplify a Timeless, Global Problem Rebecca McCray OCT 16, 2015

4-year-old girl brutally gang-raped in Delhi 12 OTTOBRE 2015

The Rape Capital of India 19 AGOSTO 2015

Child Sexual Abuse in India “Epidemic” 5 OTTOBRE 2015

The BBC film banned by Indian authorities about the deadly rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi has opened in the United States to acclaim, with Hollywood star Meryl Streep saying it deserves to win an Academy Award.
Depicting the rape and murder of a medical student in 2012 that sparked violent protests, the documentary "India's Daughter" has been mired in controversy since the Indian government implemented its ban.
But Oscar-winning actress Streep, who introduced the documentary at its US theatrical release in New York City on Wednesday night, said it was worthy of the movie industry's highest honor.
"I'm on the campaign now to get her nominated for best documentary," said Streep, speaking of the film's director, Leslee Udwin.
The hour-long film chronicles the gang rape of Jyoti Singh, 23, on a moving bus in India's capital and the subsequent protests started by Indian students.
Singh, who was returning home from the cinema with a male friend, died after her assailants pushed a metal rod inside her and pulled out her intestines.
"When I first saw [the film] I couldn't speak afterwards," Streep said.
The film draws on extensive footage of an interview in jail with one of the attackers, Mukesh Singh, who blamed the victim for being out in the evening with a male friend.
"A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night," he says. "A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy."
Sentenced to death, he has appealed his verdict along with three other convicted assailants also on death row.
The documentary, scheduled for broadcasting in 2012 in India, was banned while Udwin was in the country promoting it, the director said during a talk following its screening.
In a statement, the government warned that certain excerpts "appear to encourage and incite violence against women."
The film will open in US cinemas on October 23 nationwide, promoter Christine Merser said. Screenings are also scheduled in a handful of countries from Iceland to China.
Udwin said she had found hope in the outpouring of support following Singh's rape but was dismayed at the timid outcry after a 4-year-old girl was raped and beaten with stones in Delhi earlier this month.
"Why are people not out on the streets now?" she said.

Meryl Streep lancia India's Daughter per l'Oscar Matteo Miavaldi 16 Ottobre 2015

"India's daughter", il documentario BBC di Leslie Udwin sullo stupro di gruppo in India arriva in Italia su Vimeo Silvia De Santis 15/06/2015

Two indian sisters aged three and six raped and murdered AUGUST 30, 2015

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