Honorary Degree Goes to Filmmaker Shining a Light on Gender Violence

BU Today

COM alum Vibha Bakshi’s work also offers hope
Filmmaker, journalist, and activist Vibha Bakshi (COM’93,’96) will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters at BU’s 145th Commencement May 20. Photo courtesy of Bakshi
Living in Mumbai in 2012, Vibha Bakshi watched a revolution unfolding in the streets around her. Demonstrators in cities across India took to the streets to protest the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student on a bus in Delhi and to demand an end to rampant gender violence.
A former CNBC business reporter, Bakshi (COM’93,’96) says she knew the time had come to take a stand against what was happening in her country. The result was her first film, Daughters of Mother India, which she directed and coproduced.
“Not doing this film would have been a crime of my conscience,” Bakshi says. “It was just me, like anyone else, searching for answers for my own gender.”
While reporting on the gang rape of the medical student and public response, the film also offers a startling behind-the-scenes story of the Delhi police investigation into the rape of a five-year-old girl amid the ongoing street protests.
The documentary, which is available on Netflix, has been well received, winning a President’s Award for Best Film on Social Issues at the National Film Awards in India. It was also voted best documentary at the New York Indian Film Festival, and earned two nominations at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Police agencies in India now use Daughters of Mother India and other films Bakshi has made as gender-sensitization tools for 150,000 officers, and the film has been incorporated into the curriculum at more than 200 schools.
Bakshi’s 2015 film, Daughters of Mother India, confronts the grim facts of gender violence in India, like the gang rape of a five-year-old girl.
For her work bringing the issue of gender violence …

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