Trigger warning: this article contains discussion of violence against women.
Speak without shame and stand with me. Bring about the change we want to see.
When a young woman named Priya is raped by a group of men she is rejected by her family for bringing shame upon them. Having no-one else to turn to, Priya prays to the Goddess Pavarti, who enters her body and experiences the discrimination she faces. Enraged by this, the God Shiva decides to punish all humans by making them unable to reproduce. Pavarti persuades him that there is another way. She gives Priya the mantra above and helps to spread her message of peace throughout the land.
In 2012 Jyoti Singh was taking the bus home at night after seeing a movie in Delhi when she was attacked by a group of men. They raped her and assaulted her with an iron bar, causing her to later die of her injuries. In the controversial docomentary India's Daughters one of the convicted rapists claimed that Singh deserved the attack because "A decent girl won’t roam around after 9 o’clock at night." In the aftermath of this highly publicised attack this comic was created to address the problem of gender based violence in India, and around the world.
The comic is designed to appeal to children and teenagers and teach them that gender based violence is unnacceptable, and that the victims of such violence are not to blame for it. It also urges families to educate all their children, not just the boys.
The art is an interesting mixture of drawings and photographed backgrounds. The rape itself is not shown, but the images may be distressing to some readers. The story might be a bit out of context to readers unfamiliar with Hindu mythology, but the basics you need to know are explained in the comic. I find it a pity that anyone needs to use religion to explain to people that treating half of the human race as second class citizens is wrong, but I suppose anything that gets that message out there, especially to the young, is helping.
Priya's Shakti is a powerful story about an extremely important topic. It can be read for free online at or on Comixology.