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The Award I Won, I Wish Didn't Even Exist

It was 5 years ago when I heard the news. I sat in my kitchen in America sobbing over a 23-year-old girl in Delhi who was gang-raped on a bus and tortured to death. I looked at my daughter and couldn’t even begin to comprehend the pain this young woman’s Mum must be in… not only was her daughter gone, but the horror movie she must have experienced. Not being there to protect or comfort her baby girl. People all around the world were horrified by this story.

So you could imagine 5 years later this young woman’s Mum, Asha Devi, is giving me an award on stage in India from the Nirbhaya Foundation, started on behalf of her daughter which India refers to as, “Nirbhaya” meaning “fearless.” The Award was for "Exceptional Acts of Courage and Achievement." And no, I couldn’t hold back my tears as I spoke and as Asha Devi and I hugged…
 

I can’t even imagine how these young men could act as brutally as rabid dogs. Where is their soul? Their dignity? Their moral compass? Their pride?

Fortunately, as I fly from one continent to another I feel not only women rising everywhere to say, “we will no longer accept the abuse of any woman,” but men are as well.  Men have a new consciousness and are standing next to women and speaking out. And that is what it is going to take to stop the world-wide abuse of women.

To everyone out there… don’t stand in silence, check inappropriate comments and actions, say something. Make any mistreatment of women, socially unacceptable everywhere.   The abuse of one woman could be the abuse of our daughters, sisters, Mothers or Grandmothers.

These tears are not only for Nirbhaya, but for women all around the world who have been abused.  

Thank you to the Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO) for taking a stand to protect women. Thank you to the IETO President Asif Iqbal and Fathima Asif for all you do not just in India, but around the world. Thank you to the Nirbhaya Foundation.

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