DVD cover: India's Daughterby Leslee Udwin
2012
63 min

Twenty-three-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh was on her way home after watching a movie. She and her male friend boarded a private bus.

Jyoti’s friend was severely beaten. Jyoti herself was gang raped and beaten, her intestines pulled outside her body. Both were dumped on the side of the road. Days later, Jyoti died from her injuries.

Why did this happen?

The six young men on the bus believed that a young woman in India should not be out at night with a boy, even though he was just a friend.

India’s Daughter explores the aftermath of a brutal crime that happened largely because of a culture steeped in patriarchy and a belief that woman and girls are lesser beings who must remain pure and subservient.

Filmmaker Leslee Udwin interviewed numerous people, including Jyoti’s family, as well as the two defense lawyers, and one of the convicted rapists. She highlighted the public outrage that sparked mass protests for over a month after Jyoti’s death and the subsequent demand for legal, political, and cultural reform in the ways that young, single, independent women are perceived and treated in Indian society.

The film poses difficult questions and emphasizes how such deep cultural divides can foment societal violence.

Use this film with older students to explore issues related to gender violence, gender roles, patriarchy, and the challenges in transforming deep-seated societal beliefs.