BenU welcomes producer Leslee Udwin to screen her controversial film that brings violence toward women into the spotlight

April 5, 2016

Lisle, Illinois ~ A 23-year-old woman boards a bus with a male friend after watching a movie. She is brutally raped and assaulted by six men, and afterward is thrown from the bus. She dies 13 days later from her injuries.

One of the men convicted of the rape openly blamed the victim.

"A decent girl won't roam around at 9:00 p.m.," he said. "Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing indecent things, wearing indecent clothes. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy."

A defense lawyer in the case said the woman disgraced her family.

"If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight," he said.

The film, "India's Daughter," by award-winning filmmaker, actress and producer Leslee Udwin, pays tribute to the remarkable short life of Jyoti Singh and documents the brutality of her gang-rape and murder in Delhi in December 2012. It also examines the mindset of the men who committed the rape and tries to shed light on a culture that not only seeds but may even encourage violence against women.

The Department of Psychology, Sociology, Criminal Justice and Clinical Psychology at Benedictine University is sponsoring a screening of the film and an appearance by Udwin beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, in the Goodwin Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

"India's Daughter" is a documentary about one young woman at a particular place and time in history, but it is also the story of violence toward women taking place throughout the world. The film has been the target of controversy in India and abroad not only because of the details surrounding the event, but also because of the disregard for women's rights expressed by a number of Indian officials who essentially justified the rapists' actions.

"This moving documentary is harrowing not only for its heartbreaking, unflinching look at a young women's life brutally ended, but for the intimate, clear-eyed look at the young men who broke her and their defenders," said American actress and activist Meryl Streep. "It forces a look at the mindset that must be made to know it has no place in the civilized world."

The publicity following the victim's rape and death resulted in massive public demonstrations to raise awareness and demand action to stop violence against women. The film has also made Udwin the target of harsh personal criticism and violent threats.  

Udwin's other films include "East is East," "Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution," "West is West" and "The One and Only." She was presented the British Award for Film and Television and the London Critics Circle Film Award for "East is East," and received the Biografilm Festival, the Bahamas International Film Festival and the San Diego Film Festival awards for "India's Daughter."  

Udwin lectures on film and its value as a tool for social change. She has presented seminars at The National Film School of Denmark, the National Film and Television School of the United Kingdom, the Oxford Union at Oxford University, the London Film Academy and Notre Dame University.

"All of us who care about those who bear us and who are (or should be) half our world, should stand up now with courage and commitment and demand this long overdue change," Udwin said. "I know with all my heart that this film is that effective, transformative, powerful tool for change I meant it to be."

Udwin will speak prior to the film and take questions following the screening.

More information about the film can be found at

For more information about the event, contact Pat Somers at or Brian Patterson, department chair, at (630) 829-6488 or


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, and the University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area.

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