The facts are grim and disturbing. It’s mid-December 2012, and a twenty-something year old physiotherapy student and a guy friend, both originally from the Indian state Uttar Pradesh but now living in Delhi, catch an evening movie at an urban cineplex in South Delhi. They then board a 9pm-ish bus home. The bus veers from its route, and the driver bolts the doors. What transpires over the course of the next hour has catalyzed over 10,000 protestors, broad public outcry, and a crowdsourced demand for change.

india.blogs.nytimes.com

Crimes Against Women in Delhi

According to Reuters, New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes of all major cities in India. A rape is reported to Delhi police every 18 hours. Many women’s rights groups claim that due to underreporting, the true number of sex crimes in the city is far higher. And, according the New York Times, even when rape cases are reported, the perpetrators are often not found or arrested.

Six individuals were taken into custody for gang rape and assault charges. The female student remains in critical condition. Though she has been under intense hospital care, she has worked with police to report what happened.

Mass Protests

Protests have cropped up at New Delhi’s historic India Gate and across the country, reaching a fever-pitch with tens of thousands of individuals seeking more serious, expeditious treatment of the over 100K crimes against women reported in the nation’s capital and across the country. Mass protests in Delhi have been met with governmental resistance—the Delhi government passed a late anti-protest ordinance (which has been largely ignored), city officials closed various transportation routes leading to India Gate where the protestors gathered.
The protests began peacefully but have also seen rowdy behavior including the overturning of a Parliament member’s car and provoking police. The police have responded with their own intensity–including tear gas, water cannons, and arrests.

The Call to Social Innovators

For social innovators, the news in Delhi is especially tough. India is one of the hotbeds for meaningful and innovative social impact initiatives. From new education measures to experiments in local farming, creative and driven thinkers in India forge new paths ahead.
The history for social entrepreneurship in India has been sometimes-inspired by the likes of prominent humanitarians within the country such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, and great entrepreneurs such as Tata and Birla.
The victims’ calls for help weren’t answered in time. But the protests, responses, and online coverage is an active call that seeks response. It may be time for social innovators to support legislative changes that can help address issues of women’s safety, but also to think beyond the government to architect new ways that all people can be made more safe to study, work, and play in any city they find themselves in.

3 Things You Can Do, Now

1. Sign Online Petitions
2. Read 

The Great Inequality: What it’ll take for a Brighter Future for Women Worldwide (SocialEarth)

3. WatchIndian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit:

Jaya Bachchan, Actress/Politician:

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