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05 March 2013   PTI

US to give 'women of courage award' to Damini

United States has selected the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim 'Nirbhaya' for the International Women of Courage Award. 

The award to 'Nirbhaya' would be presented posthumously by the First Lady Michelle Obama and the Secretary of State John Kerry, on March 8, an official announcement said yesterday.

"For millions of Indian women, her personal ordeal, perseverance to fight for justice, and her family's continued bravery is helping to lift the stigma and vulnerability that drive violence against women," the State Department said about her as it announced the awards to be given to 10 women from across the world.

She bravely recorded two police statements while in the hospital, repeatedly called for justice against the six attackers, and stated her will to survive to see justice done, the State Department said.

"Like many Indians inspired by her struggle, she was born into a working class family that invested their hopes and life savings into her dream to pursue medicine.

She had just graduated from a physiotherapy program when her life was cut short," said the State Department.

"In the wake of her death just two weeks after the attack, India's civil society began advocating heavily for legislation and social programs to stem gender-based violence in all its forms and to ensure higher rape conviction rates and gender-sensitive law enforcement and justice systems.

Thanks to these efforts, the Indian government has begun to take action to follow through on those demands," the State Department said. The paramedical student 'Nirbhaya' was gangraped, beaten and thrown out of a moving bus along with a male friend in Delhi last December, which generated widespread protests and was condemned by various women groups, both in India and abroad.

The Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award annually recognises women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk.

Since inception of the award in 2007, the Department of State has honoured 67 women from 45 different countries.



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