Jyoti Singh Pandey: Delhi Gang Rape Victim Has a Name and Lives On as a Cultural Symbol


The father of the 23-year-old victim of the horrific gang rape on a bus in Delhi, India, has chosen to release her name to the public.

She's been referred to by various nicknames in the press since her brutal attack and eventual death in December, which spurred protests across India calling for better protections for women.

"We want the world to know her real name," Badri Singh Pandey told the Sunday People. "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."

He clearly sees what an important cultural symbol his daughter has become, and is joining the protesters and concerned onlookers around the world in hoping that something good can come out of this despicable loss.

Protests have continued for several weeks since the attack, calling not only for increased police presence and prioritization of protecting women from assault, but for cultural changes. Several protesters have been depicted with signs reading, "Don't tell your daughter not to go out, teach your son to behave."

The New York Times called India one of the least safe countries in the world for women, and this case has highlighted the need for that to change. 

Jyoti was studying to be a doctor and hoped to make enough money to help support her parents and two younger brothers, and to travel overseas, her father told reporters.

"It's hard living in Delhi on my wages, very hard," he said. "But Jyoti always said she would change all of that. She wanted to change our lives once she got a job."

DNA evidence has linked the suspects charged with the rape and murder, and they're set to appear in court on Monday. Protesters were already calling for the death penalty when Jyoti was still fighting for her life, but now that she's died from her injuries, it will almost certainly be sought.

"I just want to hear that the courts have punished them and they will be hanged," her father said. “Death for all six of them. These men are beasts. They should be made an example of and that society will not allow such things to happen."

But, bringing the conversation away from revenge and back to the bigger issue of a need for a cultural shift in India, he added, "the police cannot handle this on their own. But parents need to keep an eye on their children too."