Women In India Take On Rape Culture

Red Brigade

Red Brigade

Rape is a problem the world over.

It is the reason many women carry pepper spray whilst running.

It is the reason women are admonished not to travel alone.

The fear of it is the reason I went through a terrifying phase in life during which I maniacally kept all doors locked unless someone was actually passing through them.

And yet, rape is one of those things we don’t talk about much. Collectively women have these little habits we do in hopes of protecting ourselves but we rarely discuss why we have them.

What I love to see, however, is women banding together not only to support each other but to kick the trash of anyone who would dare threaten them (and when I say kick the trash, I literally mean beat up the bad guys).

The Red Brigade in Lucknow, India is a group of women who do just that.

Started by Usha Vishwakarma in 2011, the Red Brigade (so named for the bright red shirts they wear) teaches self-defense, provides a support system to sexual assault victims, and goes to monthly protests demanding safety for women everywhere.

If a girl or woman is having a problem, the Red Brigade will first give a warning to the offender. But if he doesn’t stop they will take the matter into their own hands

Self-defense practice

Self-defense practice

by beating him up.

I think that’s pretty rad.

One might say that you can’t fight violence with violence. This can be very true. But here’s the thing: when these girls start putting up a fight, would-be attackers back off.

I just love this group of women. India has been getting a lot of attention for incidents of rape lately. What I love to see is when people are doing something about it other than saying, “oh, those poor girls,” or “well, that’s my lot in life.”


Save Women

These women and girls are taking control of their bodies and circumstance. They aren’t just challenging the status quo, they are vehemently crying, “NO!” with as much gusto as they can, and they have a lot of gusto.

Photo credit: here and here.

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