The girl on the bus.

The girl with no name.

In most cases, having no name takes away our dignity, but this time it gives some.

Gang raped and abused on a Delhi bus, then thrown naked on the street like rubbish, her dignity was stripped along with her clothes. It’s right that the world weeps for her pain and her death, but only her family and friends mourn for her. Keeping her name protects her in a way she couldn’t be protected that night.

It haunts me. How the last hour of her life was so violent and shocking and sordid and painful and lonely.  Of course I want to see a picture of her, but then I will only imagine the terrible things that happen to her more.  Better her story raises the collective conscience, and not her face. Let her mother gaze and touch her face in the photo. Let her father and brothers and sisters and friends dream of her face. She belongs to them.  But her story belongs to everyone who wants equality and justice and basic bloody behaviour and attitudes towards women.

I have three daughters, all with beautiful, funny, bold, clever faces. As their mum, I am going to do everything to make sure my girls have an equal, strong chance in life. They will know and love their name, and never be afraid to shout it loud. I hope they have courage and kindness, belief in themselves and compassion for others, confidence and charisma. I’ve no doubt the parents of that girl, who now whisper her name every moment of the day in grief, felt the same way. 

I cannot imagine, I literally cannot begin to imagine how they must feel now. A beautiful, clever girl with a lifetime of potential, tortured, abused, and murdered by 6 evil creatures who deserve to have their names said loud and clear when the verdict returns Guilty.

I hold my girls a little tighter. And I say their names a little louder. That girl should have had her name read aloud when she graduated; whispered lovingly when she fell in love; perhaps said strongly when she married; replaced by Mummy when she became a parent. Now her name won’t be said, but justice must be done, in her name.  And things must change, in her name. And those men should be punished, in her name. And tonight, girl on the bus, I will think of you, and whisper my daughter’s names.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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