At eight, Sunitha was teaching dance to mentally-challenged children. by 12, she was running schools for underprivileged children. At 15, while working on a neo-literacy campaign for the dalit community, she was gangraped by eight men. Today, she is a social worker and co-founder of prajwala, a rescue and rehabilitation organisation for victims of sex trafficking. She’s been threatened, stalked and beaten up multiple times, but that doesn’t stop her.
In 2011, national level volleyball player Arunima Sinha was pushed from a running train while fighting thieves. One of her legs had to be amputated below the knee because of the injuries. However, that didn’t stop her from becoming the first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest. Her goal is to scale the tallest peak on each continent, commonly known as mission 7 summits.
Twenty-five-year-old lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha was murdered by the security guard of her building in 2012. She fought back after he tried to rape her, so he killed her with the knife he’d bought a fortnight ago to scare her. Farhan Akhtar, owner of excel entertainment for which Pallavi used to work, started men against rape and discrimination, or MARD, in 2013 after this incident.
Ruchika Girhotra, a promising tennis player, was molested by the inspector general of police SPS Rathore in 1990 when she was 15. For the next few years, after she made a complaint, Ruchika, her family and friends were continuously harassed and tortured by the police, which led to her committing suicide in 1993.
In 2002, Nitish katara was murdered by his girlfriend’s brother Vikas Yadav, son of influential politician Dp Yadav, in what eventually turned out to be a case of honour killing. His mother, Neelam, spearheaded the movement to get her son justice for 13 years by taking on the Yadavs, and turned activist in an attempt to help out families who deal with similar tragedies.
Laxmi Agarwal was attacked with acid when she was 15 by a 32-year-old man whose ego she hurt by rejecting his advances. That incident turned her into an activist and campaigner. She’s the director of Chhanv Foundation that helps other survivors of acid attacks, and is also a TV show host. She gathered 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales, and consequently, the Supreme Court ordered the central and state governments to regulate the sale of acid.