Dear New York Times, her name is Jyoti

Last night, I posted “New York Times refusal to print Indian rape victim’s name is America’s rape culture” just before bedtime.


I rarely blog at night, because afterwards, I can’t sleep. After blogging, I couldn’t stop thinking about Jyoti’s story, and I couldn’t quiet down. I went to Reel Girl’s FB page. Under my post, someone wrote they’d gone to the NYT comments section: “I wrote ‘her name is Jyoti” the editor never approved the comment.’ I went to look in the comment section and someone had made a kind of similar comment under the name “Disgusted.”

I made a comment, too, and it hasn’t been approved yet. I’m sure The NYT will get around to it. It’s a weekend, after all, they approved “Disgusted.” But I’m posting here as well.

Please go to The NYT site and tell them “Her name is Jyoti.” Her father wants the world to know it. He is proud of his daughter. He hopes that Jyoti’s story will give rape survivors the courage to speak out. He wants the violence against women to stop, and he knows that goal is unreachable as long as the world continues to ignore the truth about women’s lives.

I’m reposting a shortened version of last night’s post below:

“In a post about the family of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the Indian woman who was gang raped and murdered in India, the New York Times refused to print her name. Here’s the publication’s explanation for why:

The daughter — whose name is being withheld because it is illegal to name a rape victim in India without permission from the victim or her next of kin — showed as a very young girl a love for school, her father remembered.

In covering this story, the U.S. media has widely referred to India’s “sexist culture.” So why in reporting this crime would The New York Times adhere to the laws of a sexist culture? Why would an American publication follow Indian law on how to report on rape? At what other time does a country’s laws dictate how its news is reported in The New York Times? If India’s law applied to political dissidents, would the New York Times refuse to print names?

Not only is this capitulation startling, but days earlier, Jyoti’s father, Badri Singh, told The Mirror that he wants the world to know his daughter’s name:

We want the world to know her real name,” says Badri Singh Pandey, an airport worker who had just returned home when a Delhi hospital called to say his 23-year-old daughter had been in an “accident.” “My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.” Indian officials have refused to name her, and mainstream Indian media still refers to her as “Amanat,” or “treasure.”

Singh’s nameless daughter, “a treasure,” had an “accident.”

If a country cannot speak of rape, how can it stop it? And why is the U.S. news coverage of rape just as lopsided and distorted as India’s is?”

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