To break down the patriarchal culture and bring about a change in people’s perceptions, Ram Devineni, an Indian documentary filmmaker, created a comic book with a rape survivor as its leading character, who fights against sexual violence, reports Cosmopolitan.
So, where did the idea came for such comic book? Ram was deeply impacted by the horrific gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi in 2012. He said:
“That’s where the idea began. I realised that rape and sexual violence in India was a cultural issue, and that it was backed by patriarchy, misogyny and people’s perceptions. I was very surprised by the reaction of a police officer who said ‘no good girl walks alone at night’.”
Ram then began to meet with gang-rape survivors to learn more about their experiences. He said:
“They said they were discouraged by their families and communities to seek justice, they were also threatened by rapists and their families. Even the police didn’t take them seriously.”
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After hearing so many terrifying stories, Ram came up with the idea of creating a comic and teamed up with illustrator Dan Goldman in New York to make Priya’s Shakti.
The story follows a young woman who is raped, but with the help of two Hindu gods, she returns to her home and ends gender-based sexual violence in India.
To further expand the project, he has now teamed up with a group of street artists in Mumbai to create huge murals featuring scenes from the story. Ram said:
“Our target audiences are children starting from 10-12 years to young adults. It’s a very critical age in their lives and it’s an attempt to start a conversation with them.”