On 16 December 2012 in New Delhi, 23-year-old medical school student Jyoti Singh Pandey was viciously gang-raped and beaten by five men and a 17-year-old male. Her male friend who was with her was also severely beaten with iron bars and stripped for trying to protect her. Both of them were thrown off the bus on the road leading to Delhi Airport where, for over 20 minutes, no one stopped to help both of them and even when the police arrived, they squabbled with one another as to who would take the case.
Jyoti died on 28 December 2012 in hospital in Singapore despite her determination to survive her grievous injuries.
When Jyoti was murdered, she had just completed a 4-year physiotherapy degree. Had she lived, she would have gone on to lift her family from poverty by becoming a physiotherapist as her first step towards her dream of becoming a doctor.
Her father, Badri Pandey, said: “My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”
The brutality of Jyoti’s rape and murder triggered massive public protests against violence against women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In response to the public outrage, India’s government has also approved tough new laws to deter sexual violence against women, including the death penalty in certain rape cases as well as set up fast-track courts dealing with rape and sexual assault in Delhi.
Jyoti’s rapist-murderers are currently in jail awaiting trial in New Delhi. The ring-leader, Ram Singh, was recently found dead by hanging in his jail cell.