#JusticeForDamini…the beginning

It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve wrote a blog, but feel now is the time to get back into it, and feel I have something worthwhile to blog about and share with the world.

I write this on a Saturday night in, in my pj’s and sitting in front of the box. My Saturday night’s normally consist of going out with friends and catching up, but this week I feel totally exhausted, but it has all been so worthwhile. I have spent the past week working hard on #JusticeForDamini.

Who would have thought a week ago a young 23-year-old woman who we have all come to know as ‘Damini’ would have become such a huge part of my life.

I would like to share with you how all this started for me….

Before that however, I’d like to explain my main reason for taking this further. I work in Asian entertainment media and I am constantly able to use my position to get access to high flying ‘A’ list Bollywood celebrities or get into plush events. I am also an Asian female that some people feel they can look up to so I thought surely I can get my voice heard in some sort of way and finally use my position in media for something so important that has deeply touched me. I didn’t do any of this for praise or for publicity, thankfully I have been lucky enough to get a lot of that over the years. I did this because I wanted to help make a difference, I wanted help this woman who is no longer here to have some sort of voice, I did this because I feel so strongly about this…So I did….

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Like everyone across the globe when I heard what this budding medical student had endured by a group of men…actually I’ll rephrase that, by a group of evil animals, I was both shocked and saddened. What this girl went through is beyond imaginable and inhumane! I felt sick and ashamed. Ashamed that a place I visit so often to see family, Delhi, was making the worldwide press and being called the ‘Capital of Rape’! We always knew it was unsafe but did any of us realise the seriousness of it before this case had come to light!

I couldn’t get what ‘Damini’ had gone through out of my head and was constantly checking for updates on the internet to see if her health had improved at all….however sadly she lost her battle to live on the 29th December 2012.

When I read the official reports confirming her death I felt heart broken and tearful. From what the press had said her father had said she wanted to live and fight this, but her injuries were so bad and the internal damage caused by those monsters was so severe that she couldn’t fight the trauma that she had been faced with.

That night I sent out the following Tweet on Twitter saying ‘#JusticeForDamini PLS RT!!! Let’s get this trending! #WeshallProtestViaTwitterAcrossTheGlobe’. I tweeted it a few times and went to bed. In the early hours of the morning I was woken up by a number of people’s tweets, texts and calls asking me about my ‘campaign’. I was a bit stunned as I had no idea what they were on about until I went onto my Twitter account and saw the 100’s of retweets and new followers I’d gained in the space of 4 or 5 hours of being a asleep.

Over the next 24 hrs the tweet had been retweeted by Bollywood celebrities, Brit Asian celebs , Media figures and lots of the general public.

I was then urged to do something more, and after the suggestion by a facebook friend ‘Rishi Rikin Madhani’ I set out to arrange a candle-lit vigil in Birmingham. I had never, ever set up a vigil or anything like that before. I had some amazing people come forward from Facebook and Twitter offering their help and support and arranged a peaceful vigil in Victoria Square, in Birmingham on the 3rd January 2013. I also had the support of a dear friend Adam Yosef, and my amazing family to help me put on this vigil near enough single-handedly.Image

In the run up to the candle-lit vigil taking place, the local mainstream press were amazing and featured the vigil on their news programs. I can’t thank BBC Midlands Today, BBC WM & ITV Central News for their support in the run up of the event.

I would have been happy to have just gathered my friends and family at the vigil so was sincerely pleased that so many people had shared the information via social networking sites and that many people had made the effort to come.

ImageThe candle-lit vigil was a huge success with about 250-300 people attending. I was truly overwhelmed and pleased. I felt like I had achieved my first goal of giving the people of Birmingham who wanted the chance to pay their respects and show solidarity to a brave and courageous young woman.Image

I thank everyone that came to the candle-lit vigil. It wouldn’t have been a success without you.

‘Damini’….No one knows her real, we’ve all just come to know and love her as ‘Damini’ (the name given to her by the Indian press) – she’s become the world’s daughter and sister. She’s become my sister…a sister who has been silenced by evil & inhumane monsters. I won’t be silenced and refuse to be silenced.Image

I have made it my mission to continue this fight for Justice and keep ‘Damini’ in the media limelight as much as possible. I want to educate those that need it – this is a huge and important factor that needs to be addressed in India immediately! I want to convey to the mainstream media that not all Indian’s are the same. I want to show solidarity from the UK to India to make sure the government and officials don’t let this animals get off lightly. I want to show the world this is not about being a woman or being Indian – it’s about humanity!

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Since the vigil I have been extremely lucky to have the National press contact me and this morning (5th Jan 2013) I was interviewed by BBC Breakfast TV to talk about the vigil and the campaign.Image

Talking to the media is a key factor and is extremely important…but it is not enough I know. I want to do more and will do more. I am currently working on a number of initiatives which I will continue to share with you as they progress. I know I can’t do all of this alone so am happy to take the support and ideas from others. I have had some great ideas and connections come forward which I am going to explore over the coming days

‘Damini’ has taken me on a new journey and this is just the beginning. I will not let her name go in vain….#JusticeForDamini’

Reena Combo

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