Jyoti Singh Pandey. Remember that name. Because it will be on my lips, and at my fingertips, for the rest of my life.
We cannot forget the horrific assault that was carried out on Jyoti. Because when we do, we forget the harsh reality that faces so many women. But worse still, we forget Jyoti. We forget how she fought up until her dying days, and how she united so many women in her suffering.
If we forget her name, we forget that India saw 572 rapes reported in 2011, and 635 reported by the time Jyoti was raped. If we forget her name, we forget that she was not the first woman to be raped. Nor, despite all our fighting against male violence, will she be the last.
I do not have Jyoti’s words. Male violence killed her. Jyoti’s mother is unable to speak through grief. I am left solely with her father’s noble words.
Doctors did their best to save her. She spoke a few times but mostly through gestures. She had a feeding pipe in her mouth making it difficult for her to speak. But she did write on some paper that she wanted to live, she wanted to survive and stay with us. But it was fate that had the last say in the end.
We want the world to know her real name. 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.
Jyoti’s family have asked that her image is not released. But we know of Jyoti’s hopes, and aspirations. She had just completed a course in physiotherapy, and had undertaken an internship, hoping to become a doctor.
A petition has sprung up, asking the President of India to address the rape issue in the country. You can sign the petition here.
Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey. And we will not forget her. We cannot afford to.
(Video: Jimmy Eat World – Hear You Me. Dedicated to Jyoti Singh Pandey. May angels lead you in)