Priya's Shakti: Indian Female Superhero Spreading Awareness about Sexual Violence

Priya's Shakti - a comic book by Ram Devineni to spread awareness about sexual violence against women in India.

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The incident of gruesome gang rape of 2012 in New Delhi, which rocked the whole world, has fresh memories into the minds of people all over. The incident with the victim, Nirbhaya, has raised concerns over the safety of women and at the same time threw light on the security of women on the streets.

Widespread protest against this cruel act of those six culprits against Nirbhaya– a 23 year old medical student who passed away from her injuries sustained during the rape – inspired Ram Devineni, an Indian American Filmmaker. Ram Devineni realized during the protests that the root cause of such incidents is not only because of legal issues and lack of better law enforcement, but due to the vision of the society where male dominance is still considered as the way of living in the country. It’s the mindset of the people, which considers males are the supreme power and women are made only for the household chores and can be subjected to any kind of mistreatment. With the vision to change the attitude of millions of people and to imbibe a new feeling of sexual equality, Ram Devineni came up with the idea of a comic character, Priya Shakti who is a survivor of rape herself.

Priya's ShaktiBased off of Hindu Mythological stories, Priya and Goddess Parvati, combine efforts to fight against gender based crimes in India and many other parts of the world. Priya is a young lady with the aspiration to become a teacher. The comic, Priya’s Shakti (www.priyashakti.com), is available both in Digital and in Print media and clearly shows the current ongoing situation in India, where the victim is always being blamed for the ordeal she faced. It is a satire on the present views of the Indian society. To fight against those views, Priya starts building her own movement after she is raped and with the help of Goddess Parvati, she teaches a lesson to the culprits. She even manages to raise awareness in the society about the rape cases and throws light on the issues and discrimination against women. She decides to raise concerns about the treatment with the victims and focuses on breaking the jinx of the society. Priya is determined to change the mentality of the society and sings a message of women empowerment.

Comics, being an integral part of Indian society are the perfect platform to present a view to the maximum section of the society. With the children most attached to comics, the aim is to teach them to respect women and men equally.

Don’t believe in the idea that a single project alone can change the decade long mentality? To change the mindset of the society, people must be made to interact with the women and should be made aware of the troubles, their wishes and dreams. The need of today is to change the mindset of the Indian youth. But, this does not just need to be a change within India, rape against women happens all over the world and so does the victim-shaming that follows. The world needs to change its mindset as well. Women are the integral and equal part of society and thus deserve the same recognition and respect!

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