Nirbhaya "Fearless"

Nirbhaya” (In Hindi, it means "the fearless one") was a 23-year-old physiotherapy student. On December 16, 2012, she was raped on a bus in Delhi, India.[1] Because rape laws in India do not permit using a victim's name she was known only as "Nirbhaya".[1] It is one of the many names the Indian media had given her. In 2013, “Nirbhaya” received the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State, posthumously.[2][3][4]

International Women of Courage Award, 2013. “Nirbhaya” received the award after she died.


“Nirbhaya” was born into a working-class family. Her dream was to be a doctor. Her family spent their life savings so “Nirbhaya” could study medicine. She had just graduated from a physiotherapy program.[2]

The attackEdit

Silent protest at India Gate.

On December 16, 2012, “Nirbhaya” was attacked on a bus.[5] On the bus she and her male friend were beaten by six men. She was dragged to the back of the bus and repeatedly gang raped for over an hour. The bus driver drove all over Delhi while this was happening.[1] She and her friend were left for dead at the side of the road. Police found them but no ambulance would come. Police took her to the hospital.[1] She was taken into surgery.

The government of India, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to move her to a Singapore hospital.[6] Nirbhaya was in critical condition and on a ventilator. Doctors said there was no medical reason to move her.[6] She was airlifted to Mt. Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.[6]

Two weeks after the attack, on December 29, 2012, she died. Before she died, she made two police statements in the hospital. She said she wanted justice against the six attackers.[7]


“Nirbhaya”'s case started demonstrations and protests in India. It also started changes in the laws about violence against women. The five men and the bus driver were identified and arrested. They were charged with kidnapping, rape and murder.[8]

One of the men arrested committed suicide in prison.[9] One, who was a teenager at the time, was given three years in a reformatory.[9] That was the maximum allowed for a juvenile in India. The remaining four were given the death penalty.[9] It was Nirbhaya's dying wish the men be “burned alive”.[9] Her parents, who had been demanding they hang, said they were satisfied by the sentences.[9]In 2013, a year after her rape, there was a large increase in the number of persons arrested for rape.[10] But the number of rapes had also risen sharply.[10]

Related pagesEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Samantha Bresnahan, Sumnima Udas, and Ram Ramgopal, CNN (15 December 2013). "'Nirbhaya,' victim of India gang rape fought for justice". CNN. Retrieved 21 June 2015.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners".
  3. "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners - is the official United States Government website for international human rights related information". Archived from the original on 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  4. "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners - International Women of Courage Celebration".
  5. "IAP condoles death of Delhi gang-rape victim". New Delhi: Zee News. Press Trust of India. 29 December 2012. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Bindu Shajan Perappadan (28 December 2012). "Rape survivor airlift was govt., not medical, decision". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  7. "Delhi gang-rape victim dies in hospital in Singapore". BBC. 2012-12-29.
  8. Dean Nelson (11 January 2013). "Delhi gang-rape victim to haunt attackers with 'dying declaration'". Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "Indian court orders hanging of Delhi gang-rape attackers". Dawn/Scribe Publishing. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  10. 10.0 10.1 SASI PRIYA (10 March 2015). "Rape Cases in India – Has anything changed after the Nirbhaya Incident? – Part 1". FACTLY. Retrieved 21 June 2015.

Other websitesEdit