Smita Sharma is a woman with a mission. This young lady has been traveling to remote villages of India to photograph victims of rape and bring their stories to the world.
So far, she has photographed 27 women belonging to different states of India and the photos were showcased at an exhibition held at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi recently.
While the exhibition based on her project got rave reviews, and huge response from international media as well, it made Smita’s resolve to launch her awareness campaign even stronger.
She says: “Whenever I go to meet any victim, the last thing I ask is how it happened. I meet them as a friend. They are so horribly ostracized and shunned that sometimes I am the only one they have probably talked to in ages and shared a hug with. In my interactions with the rape survivors, I have realized there is a trend.
“Among the 27 women I photographed, 25 have been raped by people they knew. The rape was meticulously planned because the rapist kept track of the victim’s movements. In some cases, the perpetrators were arrested. In some others, they were not. In many cases, they were arrested but they are out on bail now.
“But in all cases, the onus of blame and shame has been on the woman. I met the family of a deceased 80-year-old lady, who had been raped by a 17-year-old boy and people laughed at her because they felt she was responsible for her rape.”
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