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Bindi Bottoms
Zahira (name changed) Student, Lucknow

“I am the Ashiayana gang rape survivor.

I have spent 12 years of my life in darkness and isolation. I couldn’t get over the fact of being labelled a victim for 12 years. It was almost like a 12-year-long punishment for a crime I never committed.

I have received justice after more than a decade. Now, the dark night has faded and the Sun is shining bright. It is time to spread my wings and take over the sky.

Two months ago, on the day of the final hearing, I decided to dress up. A part of me was almost sure about the victory this time. I decided to take the day as a celebration. I wore a peach-color silk saree. The bindi I wore was the mark of my victory. My lipstick, danglers, nail paint, and bangles said it all; as long as I have a strong will, the whole sky can be mine.

Now, when the main accused has been found guilty and thrown behind bars, I don’t want to talk anymore about that day. Now, I want to talk about my dreams. I always wanted to study, but my past hadn’t given me the chance to go to school. However, I recently managed good marks in the Class 10 exams. I am preparing for Class 12 now.

I aspire to be a judge and want to fast-track judgment in cases like mine. I really believe that justice delayed is justice denied. Many people believe that a rape takes all rights away from a woman. I want to set an example for them, by rising like a phoenix.”


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