Mitu Khurana– A Mother’s Ongoing Battle for Justice

Mitu Khurana is a doctor in Delhi who fought to save her twin daughters from being selectively aborted, despite torture and violence at the hands of her husband and in-laws. Her story is told in It’s a Girl,and has inspired audiences around the world! Since becoming one of the first women in India to take legal action against her in-laws and the doctor and hospital who conducted the illegal sex-determination test, Mitu has become a champion for girls in India.

But her story is not over. Her battle for justice in the courts has been met by threats of rape and murder against her and of kidnapping against her daughters. We asked Mitu to write this post updating us on where her case stands in the courts and how her ongoing struggle for justice is going.

We are safe and away from violence. Otherwise in the courts, it’s a long perhaps never ending battle. The accused are rich and powerful. They have the powers to influence the authorities. I am very A-mother-fights-to-save-her-daughtersvery far away from attaining my goal.

Any change, if it happens, can be through the youth, if they are sensitized by people who themselves are sensitive to such problems. Until then, perhaps only international pressure and intervention by UN to stop the gendercide can save us.

The desire for a son is prevalent all over India. Some have the means to go for sex-selective abortion; others resort to abandoning, neglecting or killing their daughters. Programs like “Satyamev Jayate” (a popular series on social issues) and the movie, “It’s a girl” can help a lot to spread awareness. Neighborhood watch groups, training groups, NGOs which train people to become watch dogs can also help.

There are weak moments, when I feel it’s a losing battle, because the accused are powerful and the system doesn’t want women like me, who walk out and save their daughters. On the other hand it always favours people who are rich and powerful. It was the struggle against my husband which turned into a struggle against the whole system.

This woke me up. Things need to change at every level. It’s no longer a personal fight, because now I am fighting the system, which does not want daughters, which does not respect women, which does not think of providing justice because of patriarchal attitude, and corruption.

Added to it was the company of good friends which taught me the problem is widespread. I was just one of the many women who were suffering. I could come out because my parents supported me, otherwise I would have continued to be a victim. Parents usually do not support daughters to move away from their husbands, despite of having been in grave danger.

The case for sex determination filed by me against the hospital, my husband and in-laws, and the doctor- cognizance has been taken in the lower court. The hospital and the doctor have appealed in higher courts against the cognizance. It is pending there since 2010.

The case filed by government against the hospital where sex determination was done- cognizance has been taken by lower court. The hospital in appeal to the higher court and the case is pending in the high court.

I also have a number of other outstanding cases awaiting justice, including domestic violence, dowry, case against my husband and in-laws for hacking my email, custody case- filed by my husband, case for divorce- filed by my husband. A detailed description of the cases can be found here.

The least I can do is to keep fighting and encourage other women to come out, so that I stop standing out as the odd one out. I want it to become a movement, let mothers say no to female foeticide. How long will the system further victimize us?

You can demand justice for Mitu and other women like her by signing the petition demanding world leaders act to hold the Indian government accountable to enforce laws prohibiting sex selection and providing protection and value to India’s girls. Sign and share the petition here.

Invisible Girl Project and Sevenly Partnering to Save Girls in India

This week, Sevenly is highlighting the work of It’s a Girl’s grassroots partner, Invisible Girl Project (IGP)!

Specifically, every shirt that Sevenly sells this week will support the work of Invisible Girl Project’s partner in South India that has successfully rescued over 170 girls from being murdered, just because they are girls (this is female infanticide).  Through its partner, IGP has been able to have a significant impact in the lives of girls and women in the villages of South India

Through its partner, IGP has found it fundamentally important to first go out into the villages where infanticide is highest and form relationships with village families.  IGP’s social workers determine those families that are at highest risk for committing infanticide.  Knowing the cultural preference for sons, their social workers counsel the at-risk families, emphasizing the value and worth of daughters.

IGP also educates the mothers about healthy pregnancy, provides prenatal care, and helps create a bond between the mother and her unborn child.  Due to the high numbers of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other such diseases, IGP provides medicine and necessary medical care for pregnant mothers who are infected.

When a baby is born, IGP’s social workers travel to be with the family.  If the baby is a girl, they are there to prevent anyone from taking and murdering her.

After a baby girl is born, IGP will “register” the little girl’s birth with the local hospital and with the government.  This not only legitimizes the baby girl’s birth, but it is also a deterrent to the families who may want to kill their daughters in the future.  In the event IGP finds that a family has murdered their baby girl, IGP pursues justice for the baby girl and files a criminal case against the perpetrator.  This is clearly the most dangerous and most culturally unpopular work IGP does.

In working to save and preserve a baby girl’s life, though, after a baby girl is born, IGP works with the family to ensure that the baby is growing and is healthy.  The social workers meet with the family at least twice a week, regularly weighing the baby girl, and providing vitamin “tonics” for the baby.

IGP also helps single mothers whose husbands have abandoned them for having a daughter.  IGP helps form coalitions for these mothers, so that the women are there to support each other emotionally and even financially.  Through these groups, IGP has helped village women to save money, using micro-finance initiatives, and even to start small businesses (such as raising goats).

Finally, IGP’s “Child Sponsorship Program” helps support the little girls it has rescued and their families.  IGP provides families with monthly food rations such as rice, lentils, and vegetables.  IGP also opens an interest-bearing savings account in the baby girl’s name, for her to use on expenses she has after the age of 18, (such as higher education, trade training, or wedding expenses—but not dowry).

Please help further this work!  Your support allows IGP to go into 30 new villages this year and rescue even more baby girls.

Please go to and purchase a shirt to help SAVE THE LIFE OF A LITTLE GIRL IN INDIA today! 

And, visit IGP’s new website, for more info! 


Why Aren’t More Men Involved in Fighting Violence Against Women?– A Man’s Perspective

In a recent Huffington Post article, Soraya Chemaly said, “I’m thinking that it shouldn’t take gendercide and gang rapes of children and women to motivate good men to act against pervasive evan jennifer3injustice that all women and girls are subjected to in one degree or another.” She goes on, “Women are not perpetrating widespread violence against one another or against men — in homes or in war. And yet, whenever I go to meetings, seminars or schools to discuss this topic, I enter rooms full of women. This is immensely frustrating.”

I have often been asked at film screenings by audiences of 99.9% women why so few men are involved in the movement to end violence against women. I can’t speak for other men, but my journey to becoming an VAW activist began with a life-changing experience while filming a woman sharing how she killed eight of her own newborn daughters in India, then learning about the underlying culture of misogyny that drove her to such desperate measures. I felt intense anger towards the men perpetrating this violence on women. But I also imagined my own wife and daughter (who was 11 at the time) suffering the same fate and felt anger at the thought of good men who might be in a position to defend them, but chose to stand passively by.

Previous to my life-changing experience filming It’s a Girl, I believed that loving and honoring the women in my own life was enough. But I no longer believe that. More men need to take action and add their voices to the movement. I challenge men every chance I get to not remain silent.

But I also think it must be acknowledged that many men may not become involved because the women’s empowerment movement can often feel like a hostile place for men. For instance, if men express their desire and commitment to defend women and their rights, we can be accused of suggesting that women are weak and need us to defend them. I’ve been told by feminists that men do not have a right to an opinion about issues like reproductive rights because we can never know what it is like to experience an unplanned pregnancy and need to stay out of it. The hostility towards men in general by some of the women commenters on our trailer on YouTube is almost violent. The message this sends to the majority of good men who honor and respect women is that we really can’t win in this, we are going to be lumped in with the bad men anyway, so why try.

While I extend a small challenge to women to consider how you can make the movement a friendly place for men, I would like to extend a major challenge to men to stand for justice and against violence against women in your families and communities. You can join me and one million other men who have made the promise to fight violence against women by joining the Ring The Bell campaign! To “ring the bell” is to take action to challenge violence or discrimination against women wherever you may see it or have the power to make change. “Men from Delhi to Dallas are standing with women to say no to violence. With men as leaders and allies, we can reach a global tipping point on the issue of our time. Be the generation that makes the world safer for all.” Learn more and “Ring The Bell” here!

“It’s a Girl”: Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

Pro-Life and Pro-ChoiceThe Atlantic just published a review of It’s a Girl titled “Neither Pro-Life Nor Pro-Choice Can Solve the Selective Abortion Crisis” by Noah Berlatsky.  It’s an excellent review that delves into some of the critical questions that must be addressed in order for the world to really see a global movement to end female gendercide.

Berlatsky accurately points out “In the United States, the discussion of sex selection and gendercide inevitably gets pulled into the gravitational pit that is the abortion debate.”

At nearly every Q & A we’ve done as part of the International Screening Tour of the film, the question of abortion rights comes up. Some accuse the film of being pro-life while others accuse it of being pro-choice. Each side is suspicious of the other, and a film that touches on sex-selective abortion seems to have left both liberals and conservatives hunting for a hidden agenda.

So for the record, let me say here what we have said repeatedly at events around the world. The It’s a Girl documentary and action campaign are opposed to sex selective abortion and forced abortion, but neither the film nor our action campaign take a stance on abortion in general. As those who have seen the film can attest, we have a laser sharp focus on these two issues (as well as the other forms of gendercide).

This focus is intentional and essential, because as demonstrated by our list of screening events, it has allowed organizations across the spectrum of abortion rights to join in this fight against gendercide. Leading pro-life and pro-choice organizations have hosted screenings of It’s a Girl. As an example, a pro-life student group in the UK is working to partner with feminist student groups to host screenings of It’s a Girl on university campuses.

We believe this is enormously significant. What other issue today can bring together pro-choice and pro-life organizations in a shared goal?

Gendercide is an area of common ground.  Just imagine the potential if both conservatives and liberals can embrace this reality and work together in opposition to such extreme violence and discrimination against women and girls.

The risk of course, is for one side or the other to hijack the issue. Let’s be honest, the idea of common ground on the abortion issue has historically been laughable. What issue is more divisive, especially in the US?

So here is our challenge to each side:

Pro-lifers: We call on you to genuinely oppose sex selective abortion and forced abortion, without trying to exploit the opportunity to push for further abortion restrictions. We are not asking you to give up your deeply held convictions, but we are asking that you honestly focus on these areas of common ground in a way that invites support from those with opposing views on abortion.

Pro-choicers: We call on you to acknowledge that your push for abortion rights has never been about the right to choose the gender of the fetus, and that forced abortion is certainly not a choice. Sex selective abortion and forced abortion are issues you can oppose with confidence, while still holding to your convictions about a women’s right to elective abortion. As champions of women’s rights, your silence on these issues is incredibly loud.

The Atlantic’s review ends with this:

From a pro-life perspective, you could condemn the use of abortion in China as a systematic government-sanctioned murder of children, especially girls. From a pro-choice perspective, you could condemn the way the government robs women of autonomy and choice, taking away their ability to make decisions about their own bodies and their own pregnancies. But really, it seems like It’s a Girl doesn’t buttress either pro-life or pro-choice—or, at least, doesn’t buttress one at the expense of another. Instead, the film shows that children’s rights rest upon women’s rights and that women’s rights, in turn, rest upon those of children. If women aren’t respected under the law, children won’t be, and if children aren’t, women won’t be either. That’s an insight, it seems, designed to make all sides in the abortion debate uncomfortable.

To this fair summary, I can only disagree with the closing statement, which also relates to the title of the review. It’s a Girl isn’t designed to make the two sides uncomfortable. Rather, it’s intended to move both sides to action!

Only pro-life and pro-choice together can solve the selective abortion crisis.

“It’s a Girl” Screenings at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Next week, governmental leaders from around the world are meeting in New York for the United Nation’s Commission on the Status ofWomen (UNCSW). This is the primary policy-making body on the planet when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights.

The theme this year is the elimination of violence against women and girls, and so we’ve been working hard with our partners to see It’s a Girl included in the two week event (4-15 March).

Several screenings of It’s a Girl are planned for the week, and they are all open to the public, so if you’re in New York or know any representatives of your organization in the area, please help us spread the word!

Monday, March 4 – 6:15pm 

Drew Room, Ground Floor at the Church Center
Hosted by the World Youth Alliance – RSVP to

Tuesday, March 5 – 10:30am 

TECO Auditorium, Taipei Economic and Cultural Center
Hosted by Women’s Rights Without Frontiers – No RSVP required
Producer Andrew Brown will participate in a panel following the screening.

Saturday, March 9 – 12:30pm

10th Floor at the Church Center
Hosted by the Endeavor Forum – No RSVP required

Producer Andrew Brown will also be participating in the CSW. If you or any representatives from your organization will be there next week, please let us know as we’d love to meet with you!

This is the highest profile event in the world on women’s rights, so we will be measuring its success on whether it moves governmental leaders to take meaningful action against female gendercide globally.

Join us in calling for action against gendercide by signing our petitions:

Take Action in India

Take Action in China

And stay tuned for more on the UNCSW in the weeks ahead!

Download PDF with Screening Details