Fifteen rape victims have formed martial arts movement and are prepared to confront abusers if no one listens to their complaints…
A GROUP of women are fighting back against the sickening culture of rape which they say infects India. Fifteen determined females – all victims themselves – have trained in martial arts and are prepared to hand out rough justice if no one listens to their complaints. And the movement, called the Red Brigade, is growing rapidly following the gang rape and murder of medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey that horrified the world.
In a nation where a woman is reportedly raped every 20 minutes, the group’s leader Usha Vishwakarma said: “We are fighting back – and the boot is now on the other foot.” Member Sufia Hashmi, 17, said: “We’ve caught a lot of men recently. I joined because men always used to pass comments on me and touch my body but now we beat them and they run.”
Like the other members in the northern city of Lucknow, 25-year-old Usha has first-hand experience of the daily dangers women face in the huge nation – a teacher tried to rape her when she was 18. She said: “He grabbed me and tried to open my trousers. I kicked him in the crotch and ran.” Usha complained to staff but they told her to forget it and allowed her attacker to carry on teaching. She said: “Many parents tell girls to quit school so there will be no sexual violence. But we said no – this has to stop. We decided to form a group to fight for ourselves, not just complain.” MORE