‘The Vagina Monologues’ playwright says crucial for men to join protests against women crimes

New Delhi: Amazed over the tsunami of national protests against the horrific December 16 Delhi gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman, well known American playwright and activist Eve Ensler has stressed on the need for men to join the movement and help in bringing about real and much needed change in societal mindsets.

Best known internationally for her play ‘The Vagina Monologues` Ensler told mediapersons here that the role of men is pivotal to sensitising and awakening the conscience of a society increasingly marred by spiralling heinous crimes against women.

"If the good men who are not doing the raping, if the good fathers who are teaching different things do not rise up and speak to the other men and train, educate and work with the other men, we will never end violence against women and girls. So it has been very moving to be travelling across India and meeting such gorgeous, loving, tender men who are with us in this struggle,” said Ensler.

Ensler is in India to launch for the upcoming launch of her movement ‘One Billion Rising’ and has travelled the length and breadth of the country to inspire men and women to join the global campaign.

Noted feminist Kamla Bhasin said: "Violence against women is the biggest war against any community in the world, it is the biggest violation of human rights. The U.N says that globally out of three women, one is violated, that makes it more than one billion women and girls in the world who experience violence.”

National Advisory Council (NAC) member and social activist Aruna Roy said: “The death penalty or castration is not going to cure society of this violence. We have to look into the roots of this violence. Inequality, injustice, inequity and a very bad system of governance, where the system you have put in place to implement the law are exploiting it for their own purpose. So what we really need is to look at the total picture.”

Sexual violence against women in largely patriarchal India is widespread, say gender rights activists, and crimes such as rape, dowry murders, acid attacks, honour killings, child marriages and human trafficking are common.

But the savagery of this crime - where the victim was raped for an hour and tortured with an iron rod, which did serious damage to her internal organs - has stirred national debate and put gender issues on the political agenda.