We won’t stop talking about violence against women and girls | ActionAid UK

This week, NIRBHAYA the Play makes its return to the London stage after a tour which has taken it to India and New York. Its appearance a year ago left a marked impression on me and indeed many of the audience.

2014's cast members and director of the play 'Nirbhaya' by ActionAid's installation
2014's cast members and director of the play 'Nirbhaya' by ActionAid's installation

The play’s being shown at the Southbank Centre from Thur 21 to Sun 24 May. The idea for the production came from the shocking story of Jyoti Singh. On 16 December 2012 this young woman boarded a bus in New Delhi with a male friend. The brutal gang rape that followed was shocking. Jyoti later died from her injuries. People around the world were absolutely enraged and men and women took to the streets in India to demand justice for Jyoti. The press named her Nirbhaya, meaning “fearless”.

Why we must #BreaktheSilence

Last year, after seeing the play for myself it was heartening to hear many of the audience ready to speak out and #BreaktheSilence that seems to shroud the issue of violence against women and girls.

Violence against women is a key barrier to women realising their rights and it robs women of their choices and control over their lives. Many women and girls living in poverty face violence every day and it can prevent girls from going to school and women from earning livelihoods.

Many women and girls live in fear. It can be almost impossible for women and girls to defend themselves against violence because their voices are unheard.

1 in 3 women will suffer violence

This week I’ll be at the Southbank Centre again for the performances and I’ll be talking to the audience about the issues that arise in the play such as gang-rape and acid attacks which we tackle head on in communities across the world.

We won’t let the statistic – 1 in 3 women will be violently attacked in her lifetime – become an accepted normality.

What does ActionAid do to help women?

At ActionAid we work with partners worldwide to tackle the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls.

We campaign for changes in the law and demand access to justice. We provide services for survivors of violence and support programmes for women’s empowerment.

Last year alone we helped 180,000 women and girls stand up to violence. We can do more but we cannot do it alone.


Find out more about Nirbhaya and our work ending violence against women: