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India’s First Female Superhero Fights Sex-Trafficking In The Latest Comic. Women Are No Longer Damsels In Distress.

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Existing in a patriarchal world isn’t easy. It’s not like our daily lives are unaffected by the fact that women are oppressed and tied to the bottom of the social structure. We can’t travel in public transport without fiercely guarding our personal space and being alert of perverse hands trying to grope you. In fact, we can’t just do something as simple as head out in the middle of night for a cup of chai and bun maska. At least, not without being scared for our lives. You step out in a short dress or a plunging neckline and you prepare yourself for unwarranted creepy stares, at the very least. So yes, we are living in a hazardous environment, every single day and it’s just a matter of luck that you went through the day untouched. Because, there have been days when our bodies have been violated, with eyes and with touch.

But these issues, as grave as they may be, are still at the bottom of the pyramid when it comes to the threats to our safety. There’s sexual assault, acid attacks, domestic violence, human trafficking, etc. Yes, we are fighting these evils but every day, women are getting raped and killed, sold cheaper than a designer handbag and being victims of acid attacks. Sometimes, we feel like we need a superhero or like Maa Kali to come and end everything. In reality, none of this is possible, but India’s first female superhero, Priya is doing that in the fictional world.

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There's a new female superhero fighting sex crime on the streets of India Priya, a rape survivor-turned heroine – who flies around on a tiger – takes on her abusers and helps acid attack victims in the last two editions of the "Priya's Shakti" comic Thousands of people across India – largely poor, rural women and children – are lured to cities each year by traffickers who promise good jobs, but sell them into modern day slavery India recorded around 3,000 human trafficking cases in 2017, according to recently released crime data, which anti-trafficking campaigners said masked the true scale of the crime Read our full interview with the comic's creator, Ram Devineni, at Pics: Courtney #PriyasShakti #PriyaShakti #womensrights #abuse #domesticviolence #India #comic #comicart #art #graphicnovel #superhero #modernslavery #trafficking

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Priya’s Shakti (2014) is a graphic novel created by Ram Devineni and Dan Goldman and has three parts. She belongs to an Indian village and is a gang-rape survivor. However, after being disowned by her family and blamed by the villagers for provoking the men, she decides to end her life. But Goddess Parvati gives her the superpower of being able to protect women and change the patriarchal nature of our society. Riding on the back of a Bengal tiger, she is all things fierce.

The second comic, Priya’s Mirror (2016) tackled the subject of acid attacks and was released at The New York Film Festival. The third in the series, Priya and the Lost Girls came out recently and is written by Indian American actress and playwright Dipti Mehta.

In the third one Priya and the Lost Girls, she returns to her village as several girls have disappeared, including her sister Laxmi. She figures that they have become victim to sex-trafficking and goes on to save them. Mehta, who did thorough research on sex workers in India for this said, “Once absorbed by the system, sex workers are conditioned to believe certain things—for example, they start sympathising with the oppressors, they start to resign themselves to this life, and feeling that this is the only place for them in the world. They start to accept the trauma as a fact of life.”

ALSO READ: Over 25,000 Cases of Child Pornography Reported Across India In 5 Months. But We’re Not Surprised

Priya maybe a fictional superhero but she represents all the real life superheroes fighting the crimes against women and trying to restore balance in our society. It shows that women no longer want to relate to fairytales and damsels in distress. We are fierce and can be our own knight in shining armour. This is the kind of stories I would like to tell my future children instead of a woman who married the man who kissed her in her sleep and obviously without consent!

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