Staceyann Chin on the set of Motherstruck! (Photo: Timmy Blupe)
Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, the poet Staceyann Chin spent her teenage years terrified of getting pregnant. “Every Bible lesson, biology lesson, and casual reference to the future was marked with the warning: if you get pregnant, your life is over,” she wrote later.
When Chin began dating women, she was relieved, thinking that this panic would no longer be a part of her life. But at 35, after yet another debilitating breakup, Chin woke up from her solitary life in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, haunted by a wholly different inconvenient truth: despite the fact that she had no partner, no stable income and no medical benefits, she wanted to have a baby.
On its face, Nirbhaya, which had its American premier at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in the East Village last night, is about the 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi. Jyoti Singh Pandey, who was coming home with a friend from the movies, was brutally raped and beaten with an iron rod by six men aboard a bus, then left naked, for dead, by the side of the road. She died days later from internal injuries. The incident spurred angry protests across India, and a documentary about Jyoti’s assault, India’s Daughter, was released earlier this year, banned by an Indian court, and then watched by thousands.