WASHINGTON – The Indian gang-rape victim whose brutal death shocked the nation and the world was among nine women honored by the United States on Friday for their courage.
The young student, who has become known simply as “Nirbhaya,” or “fearless,” was awarded the U.S. International Women of Courage award posthumously after she died of massive internal injuries following the rape and attack on a Delhi bus.
“Her bravery inspired millions of men and women to come together with a simple message: ‘No more,’ ” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a ceremony at which the 23-year-old was honored.
“We never imagined that the girl we thought was our daughter would one day be the daughter of the entire world,” her parents wrote in a message to the ceremony that was read out by Kerry. “While her end was horrendous, her case is imparting strength to all women to fight and to improve the system. Women in India and the rest of the world refuse to be stigmatized and will not keep silent any more.”
Three other women were also absent from the event held at the State Department. Tibetan poet Tsering Woeser was denied a passport by Chinese authorities to travel, Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan is under house arrest and Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zeitunah is in hiding for her safety.