A Muslim man living in the Indian city of Dadri, just outside New Delhi, was beaten to death by a mob of Hindus angry that the man allegedly had beef in his refrigerator that he was planning to eat.

The cow is considered sacred by Hindus, who make up the majority of the population in India, and the slaughter and consumption of beef is illegal in many – but not all – states.

Shikha Jain

In 1996, playwright Eve Ensler reclaimed a word that had mostly been relegated to medical textbooks and grade-school jokes. In her piece, “The Vagina Monologues,” she adapted interviews with women about their sexuality and turned them into performance art. The play has inspired women around the world to talk more openly about their bodies.

Here in Seattle, it inspired some South Asian women to reclaim the word “yoni.” That’s the Hindi word for vagina.

Instead of performing Ensler’s piece, these women write and perform their own stories. And there’s much to explore. They come from a society that’s grabbed unwelcome headlines in recent years for brutal violence against women. Even here in Seattle, South Asian women say they battle repressive attitudes within the expatriate community.