Washington, Nov 13: Rape is not just India's problem but a global issue over which "there is a conspiracy of silence," the director of a national award-winning film based on the events following the 2012 Delhi gangrape has said.
"We did made notorious headlines (after Nirbhaya's rape). We were being perceived as the rape capital of the world. That is not true. Let's not paint everyone with the same brush," said Vibha Bakshi, the director of 'Daughters of Mother India' which won the 62nd National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues.
"If there is something very bad that has happened, that does not make us the rape capital. That's why I say let's look at it as a global issue. It's everybody's problem," Bakshi told PTI after the screening of the documentary at the Indian Embassy here.
A former journalist, Bakshi said it was her consciousness after the horrific rape in Delhi on December 16, 2012, that made her work on the documentary. "It (rape) is not just India's problem. It's a global issue," she said. "Everyone felt hope is necessary.
The change is not going to be dramatic. It's not going to be overnight. But it will happen," she said. Bakshi opined there is more awareness against rape in India. "Rape is across classes. 97 per cent of the rapes are within your safe zone.
A case like Nirbhaya is only three per cent. There is a conspiracy of silence. The dialog has started, but this conspiracy that surrounds this issue needs to be broken," she said. Her documentary film also won the Best Documentary Award at the New York Indian Film Festival.
Before the screening of the film, India's Ambassador to the US, Arun K Singh, said that although the issue is difficult there is a growing consciousness in India to deal with this issue. It would be wrong to feel that it is an India-specific problem, he noted.
While there is violence of this nature in the public domain, the violence within the private domain, within families is also a problem, Singh said. "If we just go back and start within our family that is a big step in the right direction. In that case we would really see the numbers coming down," Bankshi added.
She said that "this fight is not women's fight." It is important that "we fight together". "The question people ask is did anything change. I believe something did. Is change going to happen overnight? It's not going to happen overnight. But something has changed and that is the dialogue has begun. The whole conspiracy of silence that surrounded the issue, that is finally being broken," she said.
The discussion was moderated by author Maina Chawal Singh, Scholar in Residence, School of International Service, American University.