I can’t really remember what I was doing when I first read about you. I will be honest, I did not know then what the butterfly effect was – I do now. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you and what was done to you since then, and I doubt I will ever be able to forget.
Let me start off by saying I AM SORRY. From the bottom of my heart. I know these are just 3 little words, and cannot really do anything to help you. But I need to say them, because I really AM sorry. My apology cannot bring you back, it cannot undo the damage that was done to you, and yet, I hope you can hear it.
Your story has angered me, brought me to tears, and terrified me. I am angry that you were violated in such a brutal way; sad, because you didn’t deserve the end you met (and neither does anyone else); and terrified, because it could have just as easily been me.
You were young – I am young. You wanted to build a career and help people – so do I. You had hopes, and dreams, and desires – as do I. You were just out trying to have fun with a friend, and then making your way home – I do that as well. So when someone says “Why do you care so much? You didn’t even know her”, I cannot put my feelings into words. Because it doesn’t matter that I didn’t know you, that we were strangers, that you lived on the other side of the planet. All that matters is that you were a girl who wanted to do something with her life – just like me. So I do care, I AM angry, and I AM upset. Because you deserved better, and what happened shouldn’t have.
While I am scared, I cannot even imagine the fear that must have gripped YOU that night, as you faced your attackers. I can’t breathe when I try to think about it. It scares me like nothing ever has before.
But, true to your name, Jyoti (“light”) you have been a beacon of light, of hope. You fought, with every fibre of your being. You did what you could to help yourself. I know some say that you shouldn’t have done that; that you would be alive if you hadn’t resisted. I don’t know if they are right. I wasn’t there that night; neither were they. You were, and you did what was right for you. I cannot see anything wrong with that. You struggle, against them, against death can only be called inspirational.
You were just trying to get home safely. But those boys, those men, those monsters, had other plans. They stole into your world and took what wasn’t theirs to take. They broke your heart, your soul, and your spirit. And yet you fought. I wish with all my heart that we could all be as brave, as courageous, as fearless, as you. But, a bigger part of me wishes that this courage was not needed. That we could walk down the street with our head held high, without the constant fear of being watched, teased, touched, or worse, killed.
You give me hope that this may be possible someday – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day. Your bravery has sparked an entire nation – they fight today for our rights, the ones you tried to exercise that night – to be free, from fear, from persecution, from attack.
I hope you can see them, see us, from where you are. I hope you are in a better place now, where there is no more pain, no tears, no fear. I hope you can find peace there. I also hope your parents, your family, and your friends, and everyone whose life you touched can also find peace, and can be proud of you for fighting – fighting those who hurt you, and hanging on, fighting for your life. I know I am.
Most of all, I hope you are never forgotten. That we never give up. That we can fight just as bravely as you did to have our rights recognized, so that one day, we may all be able to be free.
With much love and a sincere apology,