Today on International Women's Day we celebrate the impact and accomplishments of women all around the world. We must also consider those women that still struggle to have some of the basic rights that many of us take for granted and we continue to strive for equality through open dialogue and education.
As I reflect on this day I have to give the upmost gratitude to those who continue to speak up for their rights and the rights of many vulnerable individuals.
I think of Nodeep Kaur who is still in captivity and I hope and pray that her spirit remains undefeated throughout it all.
Nodeep's birthday just passed and Shaifali Kapur wrote a beautiful letter that I wanted to share with you today.
*Warning contains sensitive content.
I’m so sorry for what they did to you. They violated your body, they bruised your skin, they molested you with their words.
They’ve tried to damage your honour and reputation as a woman in the only medieval way that they know how to. They’ve tried to break your spirit, too. But they have 𝐧𝐨𝐭 succeeded.
On your birthday, I prayed to you within my heart. I prayed that you felt hope, prayed that you felt a fire in your belly just knowing that millions of us have been thinking about you day in and day out. I hoped that you would feel how many Indian woman see themselves in you. It could have been anyone of us, but it was you sis.
I am so sorry that this happened to you. But now I must use this anger and pain of my own, and fuel it into progress and forgiveness. And yes, the scum that laid their hands on you should be tried and punished using the same standards that the system uses to punish peacefully protesting Indians. If those who stand up for human rights are considered anti-Indian, terrorists, thugs...SURELY we have words for the disgusting humans in badges who show no remorse in beating the elderly with batons. Who rip off a Sikh man’s turban to violate his mane, who stomp on his face when he tries to protect his sisters from being assaulted by their hands. Who watch him bleed out while continuing to beat on him. And who sexually assault vulnerable women whom they take as prisoner. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 prisoners.
But today...I have to remember is a day for celebration. This is your day, Nodeep sis. I am so proud of you. You are a role model who has inspired an entire nation of both men and women. You are a game changer. And I can’t wait to see what you will do next, we are with you.
And to Meena Harris, thank you for all of your activism, you are an amazing woman and such a role model. I know that many of us would love to see the two of you share dialogue, in hopes that she will be given the international spotlight that she needs to enforce a very real change that you wish to see as well.
Written by Shaifali Kapur @shaifali.kapur
Artwork by @clayvours