Australian-Indian activist wins prestigious International Women’s Day Awards

By Our Reporter

Saru Rana transforms women and children’s rights from awareness to action

Indian-Australian human rights activist Saru Rana has received an Irene Bell Award and the Irene Krastev Award, presented by the International Women’s Day Association SA Inc. This honour appreciates Saru’s achievements in community groups and volunteer work with women, individuals and women’s groups—mentoring individuals and providing support to individuals and groups.

Saru has spent more than a decade working for women’s rights and human rights in Australia, New Zealand and India. Activist, journalist, and especially human rights defenders such as herself face constant risks across being committed to her passion of supporting women and children in vulnerable circumstances. Saru works tirelessly towards eradicating abuses such as domestic violence and child sexual assault, and many women have been struck by the courage of this young woman. It is this courage that is now being recognised by a much larger audience.

Taking from her personal story and the violence she faced at the hands of her ex-husband, Saru speaks from the heart when she advocates breaking the chains of constant violence. But she has always emphasised how despite the risks she had no plans to give up, and that she would continue the fight for victims’ rights across Australia.

If not for people like Saru, these secret prisons and the circle of violence on women and children within the community would have remained a secret. Despite death threats, a vicious social-boycott campaign, and the pain of losing her worth and confidence, Saru has not stopped her battle against domestic violence and abuse.

“I am happy to receive this award and this honourable recognition for what is considered as a continuous struggle to make a positive change in my society, although I find what I’m engaged in an absolute duty and a total obligation. As a social activist, I’ve always believed in human rights and in the essential need for everybody to enjoy an equal and just life,” says Saru.

“This award is for those who have been always excluded by the central male dominating society to be thrown in the void and pushed into the margin only for being vulnerable, for being born with different social orientations and with distinguished gender inequalities, this is for those who did not choose their violent fate but chose to stop the unbearable pain of existing, to lay down peacefully in their tombs, and it is for those who spent their lives struggling and resisting the oppressive powers of despotic regimes and of cultural boundaries and taboos. It is for those who suffered and endured physical and mental agony so that the coming generations eventually see the light.”

Saru has taught people to use their voices for change, to show abuse does not discriminate. Saru has inspired more education and encouragement for young people witnessing domestic violence to feel empowered to speak up.

Saru’s talk shows and articles have emphasised on how to help people experiencing family violence. She hopes to end domestic violence by getting everyone in the community involved in protecting women against abuse.

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