Panel discusses documentary on infamous Indian rape case

Forrest Milburn

The 2015 documentary “India’s Daughter” raises  awareness of rape and sexual violence around the world, according to panelists at a Tuesday screening.

Directed by Leslee Udwin, “India’s Daughter” tells the story of a 23-year-old Delhi woman’s brutal rape and murder at the hands of a group of men in December 2012. The incident immediately sparked protests around the country, forcing the Indian government to promptly act in bringing the accused to justice.

“Part of it is how the government said that this is not representative of our values and cultural traditions,” Taral Patel, Student Government chief of staff, said. “This is an argument that has been going on for decades in India, and we as a society have to acknowledge that there are values that we cherish — equality and tolerance — that sometimes do conflict with our culture.”

Asian Family Support Services of Austin (AFSSA) hosted the screening in partnership with Voices Against Violence, among others, as part of Relationship Violence Prevention Month .

During the film, the victim’s mother and father, as well as the defense and trial lawyers involved in the case, discussed the gruesome account and trial. Two of the defense lawyers frequently said women need to be accompanied by a male family member at all times when walking outside, as one of the defenses for the rapist’s actions.

Political communication senior Hira Prakash, who also interns with AFSSA, said the film is important because it tells the story of a medical student from a South Asian perspective during a time when rape culture is heavily discussed.

“Talking about some of these things from a cultural perspective is also very important,” Prakash said. “There are some things that are just very unique to the culture in terms of how you talk about these things.”

Electrical engineering sophomore Alex Bi said the film provided an in-depth analysis of the Western perceptions of rape, in comparison to the more traditional Indian point of view.

“I thought it was really eye-opening,” Bi said. “I liked the way it was presented, and I thought it was a good way of promoting positive change and helping young people open their minds to ways we can change things about rape in the United States and in other countries.”

The next event in Voices Against Violence’s relationship violence campaign will be held this Wednesday at 8 p.m., with an interactive Theatre for Dialogue performance examining consent .