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Indian Women Fight Back Against Victim Blaming With #AintNoCinderella

A politician blamed a woman for her recent harassment, so women stood up for their right to the streets.

Politician and actress Ramya/Divya Spandana created the hashtag after reading about Kundu’s case, and told ELLE.com, “This ain’t the first time men in this country have made such regressive statements about women. We had finally had had enough. And I came up with hashtag because this whole not being out after midnight could only be from a Cinderella! It’s 2017, for gods sake!”

Spandana runs the social media for the Indian National Congress, and says most of the team are women. They decided to turn their outrage into a movement, so they sent a message out asking women to “post a midnight selfie with the hashtag #AintNoCinderella and your message to these backward leaders about how you can be a girl, go out when you please, and be whatever you want to be!”

Spandana says she’s both surprised and not at the reaction to the hashtag. On one hand, it’s always overwhelming when something goes viral. On the other, “This is something all women resonate with so I was sure women would take this up. And I am surprised that these men just don’t get it.”

“THIS IS SOMETHING ALL WOMEN RESONATE WITH SO I WAS SURE WOMEN WOULD TAKE THIS UP. AND I AM SURPRISED THAT THESE MEN JUST DON’T GET IT.”

Many find it easy to point to India as a singularly dangerous place for rape culture. The 2012 gang rape and subsequent death of a female student shook many, and prompted both nation-wide protests against rape culture, and one of the attackers to say “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.” But the global popularity of #AintNoCinderella speaks to how universal this experience is for women. In America, Brock Turner was released from jail just three months after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, and has publicly blamed the entire thing on alcohol. And president Donald Trump has notoriously been accused of sexual assault multiple times.

Spandana says she hopes the hashtag can become a “movement of sorts,” like Take Back The Night, that inspires women to speak out against rape culture and challenge any politicians or men who argue that women bring violence upon themselves. “It’s not her fault for being out. It’s her right. The accused must be punished,” said Spandana. “But we are fighting against an oligarch government who decide everything. They are diluting the constitution. But we will fight this regressive mindset.”

This article originally appeared on elle.com