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Vocapedia > Women > Violence against women worldwide > India / Bhārat Gaṇarājya

 

 

 

A protest march in Kolkata for Asifa Bano,

an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered.

 

Photograph: Piyal Adhikary/EPA

 

The India I grew up in has gone.

These rapes show a damaged, divided nation

 

Ugly Hindu nationalism

and the ruling regime’s sense of impunity

are common factors in these appalling crimes

 

Anuradha Roy

G

Tue 17 Apr 2018        17.10 BST

Last modified on Wed 18 Apr 2018        12.02 BST

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/17/
india-rapes-damaged-divided-nation-hindu-nationalism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fearless: five years after Delhi gang-rape, has anything changed for women in India?     6 February 2018

 

 

 

 

Fearless: five years after Delhi gang-rape, has anything changed for women in India?        Video        The Guardian        6 February 2018

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=_cOAqQ4jczg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gang Rape Case in India: Insecurity Lingers After Death Sentences        NYT        16 September 2013

 

 




Gang Rape Case in India: Insecurity Lingers After Death Sentences        Video        NYT        16 September 2013

 

The brutal rape of a young woman

in New Delhi last year

has led Indians to ask

why women are so unsafe

in public spaces.

 

Daily travels

are often filled

with a sense of insecurity.

 

Read the story here:

http://nyti.ms/19XvMRP

 

YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=q_wmJR1rQFY&list=PL4CGYNsoW2iDMMRQRGO02ZDfhEiIUxy9G&index=13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

equality        USA

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/01/04/
681988452/millions-of-women-in-india-join-hands-to-form-a-385-mile-wall-of-protest

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/04/
682145216/3rd-woman-enters-sacred-hindu-temple-in-southern-india-amid-protests

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/02/
681544151/protests-erupt-in-southern-india-after-women-defy-centuries-old-temple-ban

 

 

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/22/
675548304/indias-supreme-court-orders-hindu-temple-to-open-doors-to-women-but-devotees-obj

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

modern slavery        UK

 

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2014/mar/01/
tetley-tea-maids-real-price-cup-tea-video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

acid attack        UK

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03kht8b -16/03/2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

acid attack        USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/21/
style/deepika-padukone-chhapaak.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/01/29/
509343434/the-extraordinary-courage-of-acid-attack-survivors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rape, sexual assault, multiple sexual assaults        FR / UK / USA

 

The most vulnerable women

are poor Dalits,

the lowest tier

of the social structure.

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/20/
818953212/4-men-hanged-in-india-for-2012-gang-rape-and-murder-that-sparked-outrage

 

 

 

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/12/29/
791734411/what-headlines-and-protests-get-wrong-about-rape-in-india

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/10/
731323696/indian-court-convicts-6-men-in-rape-and-murder-of-8-year-old-girl

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/09/
sexual-violence-india-rape-pornography

 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/
varanasi/nine-year-old-meerut-girl-raped-and-strangled-to-death-
dumped-in-sewer/articleshow/69717772.cms - Jun 10, 2019,

 

https://www.firstpost.com/india/
days-after-aligarh-murder-case-8-year-old-girl-raped-and-killed-in-bhopal-
body-recovered-from-drain-near-house-6781131.html - Jun 09, 2019

 

 

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/28/
world/asia/india-gang-rape-chennai.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/
world/asia/rape-chennai-india.html

 

https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/090518/
l-inde-est-malade-des-viols-le-gouvernement-patauge

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/04/
608516694/india-reforms-its-anti-rape-laws-to-mixed-reaction

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/25/
605617921/indian-court-hits-influential-guru-asaram-bapu-with-life-sentence-for-rape-of-te

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/
opinion/international-world/india-child-rape-murder.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/17/
india-rapes-damaged-divided-nation-hindu-nationalism

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/feb/07/
fearless-five-years-after-delhi-gang-rape-has-anything-changed-for-women-in-india-video

 

 

 

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/12/
557347037/india-s-court-gives-brides-age-15-to-18-protection-from-marital-rape

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/08/28/
546790420/after-guru-of-bling-sentencing-indian-state-stays-on-alert-for-violence

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/25/
546044174/guru-of-bling-rape-conviction-sparks-protests-at-least-17-reported-dead

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/world/asia/
indian-girl-10-who-was-raped-and-denied-an-abortion-gives-birth.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/world/asia/india-
abortion.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/01/06/
507572246/women-push-back-after-mass-groping-at-bangalore-new-years-event

 

 

 

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/06/16/
482232206/brutal-murder-in-indias-kerala-spotlights-underlying-maladies

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/04/13/
473966857/rape-is-a-crime-in-india-with-one-exception

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/09/
indian-girl-dies-after-being-raped-and-set-on-fire

 

 

 

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/
documenting-rape-in-india/

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/03/10/
392111392/an-anti-rape-activist-is-disturbed-by-indias-daughter

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/
opinion/sunday/a-rapists-nightmare.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/world/asia/
indian-nurse-aruna-shanbaug-dies-42-years-coma-after-rape.html

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/14/
392971612/nun-who-tried-to-prevent-robbery-gang-raped-in-india

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/13/
opinion/banning-indias-daughter-is-a-terrible-idea.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/09/
activist-arrested-for-showing-documentary-in-indian-village

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/07/world/asia/
prisoner-in-india-accused-of-rape-is-killed.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/04/
indias-daughter-director-appeals-to-narendra-modi-over-broadcast-ban

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/?s=maurice+berger

 

 

 

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/
a-india-photo-hanging-reflection/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/world/asia/
in-remote-corners-of-india-immunity-for-soldiers-who-kill-and-rape-civilians.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/world/asia/
indian-girls-rape-called-case-of-eye-for-eye-village-justice.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/05/opinion/indias-
feudal-rapists.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/world/asia/
caste-system-indians-angry-about-rape-hanging-of-two-girls-left-in-tree.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/31/
india-gang-rape-katra-sadatgunj-fathyer-speaks

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/31/
fifth-arrest-gang-rape-murder-two-cousins-india

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/04/
mumbai-court-death-sentences-multiple-rapes

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/world/asia/
gang-rape-in-india-routine-and-invisible.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/world/asia/
4-sentenced-to-death-in-rape-case-that-riveted-india.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/world/asia/
four-men-convicted-in-rape-case-that-transfixed-india.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/10/
delhi-gang-rape-india-women

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/02/
anger-nirbhaya-rape-case-reform-revenge

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/24/
india-rape-disturbing-attitudes-men

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/
opinion/indias-next-revolution.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/world/asia/
for-rape-victims-in-india-police-are-often-part-of-the-problem.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/15/
india-gang-rape-women-attitudes

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/13/
india-gang-rape-bus-punjab

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/
opinion/sunday/is-delhi-so-different-from-steubenville.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/12/world/asia/
for-india-rape-victims-family-layers-of-loss.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/01/09/
power-for-the-women-of-india

 

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/01/
indian_rape_victims_death_spar.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jan/06/
delhi-gang-rape-victim-friend-video

 

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/
rape-victims-friend-details-attack-and-delays-in-getting-help/

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/02/
delhi-bus-rape-future-india

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/
opinion/the-unspeakable-truth-about-rape-in-india.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/world/asia/
rape-incites-women-to-fight-culture-in-india.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/
opinion/rape-in-india.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/29/
clash-cultures-india-women

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/29/
india-gang-rape-society

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2012/dec/29/
india-gang-rape-protest-in-pictures

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/world/asia/
condition-worsens-for-victim-of-gang-rape-in-india.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/world/asia/
in-india-demonstrators-and-police-clash-at-protest-over-rape.html

 

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/
outrage-in-delhi-after-latest-gang-rape-case/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/world/asia/
a-village-rape-shatters-a-family-and-indias-traditional-silence.html

 

http://blogs.reuters.com/the-human-impact/2012/09/25/
in-india-rapists-walk-free-as-victims-shamed-into-suicide/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

groping        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/01/06/
507572246/women-push-back-after-mass-groping-at-bangalore-new-years-event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

practice of instant divorce by Muslim men        USA

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/19/
649514458/india-makes-instant-divorce-a-criminal-offense

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/22/
545257237/india-s-high-court-overturns-law-allowing-instant-divorce-by-muslim-men

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/03/26/
521362478/muslims-in-india-ask-top-court-to-ban-instant-divorce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blank Noise collective        UK

 

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/aug/26/
women-walk-alone-blank-noise-india-reclaim-streets-fear-harrassment

 

 

 

 

abortion        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/world/asia/india-
abortion.html

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/10/02/
352465015/abortion-in-india-is-legal-yet-women-are-still-dying

 

 

 

 


Rape protests spread beyond India        UK        January 2013

 

Demonstrators in Nepal,

Sri Lanka,

Pakistan and Bangladesh

join protest movement

against sexual violence

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/04/
rape-protests-spread-beyond-india
 

 

 

 

 

Aishwarya Rai's post-baby body

forces India to confront

its attitude to women        UK        15 May 2012

 

The former Miss World

is due to appear at the Cannes festival

as a debate about her weight rages

in her home country

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/15/
aishwarya-rai-body-india-women

 

 

 

 

domestic abuse / violence        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/07/13/
419568672/how-one-woman-found-the-courage-
to-say-no-to-domestic-abuse

http://www.npr.org/2015/07/13/
422490084/school-lunch-program-provides-unexpected-benefits-
for-rural-indian-women

 

 

 

 

online abuse        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/09/11/
439252263/women-in-india-speak-out-on-facebook-trolls-
threaten-rape-and-murder

 

 

 

 

be bludgeoned to death by her husband        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/19/
world/asia/murder-small-town-india.html

 

 

 

 

The taboo of menstruation        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/07/13/
535798455/company-in-india-gives-women-a-day-off-if-their-period-is-painful

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/12/13/
458321907/indian-women-flout-menstrual-taboos-by-saying-
theyre-happytobleed

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/
opinion/the-taboo-of-menstruation.html

 

 

 

 

Save the children

State of the World's Mothers Report > India        USA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/05/04/
404204782/in-a-poor-indian-state-she-got-first-rate-care-after-her-miscarriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transforming India’s Concept of Marriage        NYT        26 April 2015

 

 

 

 

Transforming India’s Concept of Marriage | The New York Times        26 April 2015

 

In India, urbanization, education

and the rise of matrimonial websites

are challenging centuries-old

traditions of arranged marriage.

 

Produced by: Vikram Singh

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1QrfO97

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlIBiSoz6rQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

arranged marriages        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/world/asia/
india-arranged-marriages-matrimonial-websites.html

 

 

 

 

child marriage        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/09/06/
548624594/whatever-happened-to-the-father-who-s-trying-to-break-his-daughter-s-marriage

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/09/09/
492842669/how-a-swiss-aristocrat-and-an-indian-techie-teamed-up-to-save-child-brides

 

 

 

 

child brides        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/04/23/
475167250/a-child-bride-at-13-shes-turned-herself-into-a-prize-winning-wrestler

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/26/
450580637/for-child-brides-pass-10th-grade-
or-become-in-laws-servant-15girls

 

 

 

 

domestic violence        USA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/04/22/
401530296/a-young-mothers-death-raises-questions-without-answers

 

 

 

 

domestic slavery        USA

https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/
telling-stories-of-domestic-slavery-in-india/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

female sterilization        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/
world/asia/india-to-change-its-decades-old-reliance-on-female-sterilization.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India's widows        USA

http://www.npr.org/2015/03/06/
390973373/for-india-s-widows-a-riot-of-color-an-act-of-liberation

 

 

 

 

Vrindavan,

a small town in Uttar Pradesh / India's City of Widows        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/aug/16/
pamela-singh-best-photograph-interview

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2007/mar/07/
internationalnews2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witchcraft: India's Deadly Superstition        NYT        24 February 2016

 

 

 

 

Witchcraft: India's Deadly Superstition        Video        The New York Times        24 February 2016

 

Even as India modernizes, witchcraft accusations are common,

leading to the murders of over 2,000 people, mostly women,

in the last 15 years.

 

One woman in Assam State in the country's northeast

is confronting accusers and demanding government action.

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=-ac2poaDr6U

 

 

Related

 

India’s Deadly Superstition

NYT    By VIKRAM SINGH | Feb. 24, 2016 | 4:41

 

Even as India modernizes,

witchcraft accusations are common,

leading to the murders

of over 2,000 people, mostly women,

in the last 15 years.

 

One woman in Assam State in the country's northeast

is confronting accusers and demanding government action.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000004220390/indias-deadly-superstition.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

supersitition > witchcraft accusations

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/world/asia/india-assam-state-
witch-hunts.html

 

https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=-ac2poaDr6U - NYT - Feb. 24, 2016

 

http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/
100000004220390/indias-deadly-superstition.html - Feb. 24, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delhi's first female bus driver        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/10/
delhis-first-female-bus-driver-starts-work-as-part-of-campaign-
to-fight-harassment

 

 

 

 

Delhi's Metro > women-only cars        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/04/04/
472997605/why-i-love-riding-on-the-women-only-car-on-delhis-metro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

surrogacy        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/28/
paying-for-baby-trouble-with-renting-womb-india

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawoodi Bohra Muslims > Female Genital Mutilation    FGM

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/08/02/
486927642/petition-against-female-genital-mutilation-evokes-an-angry-backlash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Delhi So Different

From Steubenville?

 

January 12, 2013

The New York Times

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

 

IN India, a 23-year-old student takes a bus home from a movie and is gang-raped and assaulted so viciously that she dies two weeks later.

In Liberia, in West Africa, an aid group called More Than Me rescues a 10-year-old orphan who has been trading oral sex for clean water to survive.

In Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players are accused of repeatedly raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl who was either drunk or rendered helpless by a date-rape drug and was apparently lugged like a sack of potatoes from party to party.

And in Washington, our members of Congress show their concern for sexual violence by failing to renew the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark law first passed in 1994 that has now expired.

Gender violence is one of the world’s most common human rights abuses. Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries.

In some places, rape is endemic: in South Africa, a survey found that 37 percent of men reported that they had raped a woman. In others, rape is institutionalized as sex trafficking. Everywhere, rape often puts the victim on trial: in one poll, 68 percent of Indian judges said that “provocative attire” amounts to “an invitation to rape.”

Americans watched the events after the Delhi gang rape with a whiff of condescension at the barbarity there, but domestic violence and sex trafficking remain a vast problem across the United States.

One obstacle is that violence against women tends to be invisible and thus not a priority. In Delhi, of 635 rape cases reported in the first 11 months of last year, only one ended in conviction. That creates an incentive for rapists to continue to rape, but in any case that reported number of rapes is delusional. They don’t include the systematized rape of sex trafficking. India has, by my reckoning, more women and girls trafficked into modern slavery than any country in the world. (China has more prostitutes, but they are more likely to sell sex by choice.)

On my last trip to India, I tagged along on a raid on a brothel in Kolkata, organized by the International Justice Mission. In my column at the time, I focused on a 15-year-old and a 10-year-old imprisoned in the brothel, and mentioned a 17-year-old only in passing because I didn’t know her story.

My assistant at The Times, Natalie Kitroeff, recently visited India and tracked down that young woman. It turns out that she had been trafficked as well — she was apparently drugged at a teahouse and woke up in the brothel. She said she was then forced to have sex with customers and beaten when she protested. She was never allowed outside and was never paid. What do you call what happened to those girls but slavery?

Yet prosecutors and the police often shrug — or worse. Dr. Shershah Syed, a former president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Pakistan, once told me: “When I treat a rape victim, I always advise her not to go to the police. Because if she does, the police might just rape her again.”

In the United States, the case in Steubenville has become controversial partly because of the brutishness that the young men have been accused of, but also because of concerns that the authorities protected the football team. Some people in both Delhi and Steubenville rushed to blame the victim, suggesting that she was at fault for taking a bus or going to a party. They need to think: What if that were me?

The United States could help change the way the world confronts these issues. On a remote crossing of the Nepal-India border, I once met an Indian police officer who said, a bit forlornly, that he was stationed there to look for terrorists and pirated movies. He wasn’t finding any, but India posted him there to show that it was serious about American concerns regarding terrorism and intellectual property. Meanwhile, that officer ignored the steady flow of teenage Nepali girls crossing in front of him on their way to Indian brothels, because modern slavery was not perceived as an American priority.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has done a superb job trying to put these issues on the global agenda, and I hope President Obama and Senator John Kerry will continue her efforts. But Congress has been pathetic. Not only did it fail to renew the Violence Against Women Act, but it has also stalled on the global version, the International Violence Against Women Act, which would name and shame foreign countries that tolerate gender violence.

Congress even failed to renew the landmark legislation against human trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The obstacles were different in each case, but involved political polarization and paralysis. Can members of Congress not muster a stand on modern slavery?

(Hmm. I now understand better the results of a new survey from Public Policy Polling showing that Congress, with 9 percent approval, is less popular than cockroaches, traffic jams, lice or Genghis Khan.)

Skeptics fret that sexual violence is ingrained into us, making the problem hopeless. But just look at modern American history, for the rising status of women has led to substantial drops in rates of reported rape and domestic violence. Few people realize it, but Justice Department statistics suggest that the incidence of rape has fallen by three-quarters over the last four decades.

Likewise, the rate at which American women are assaulted by their domestic partners has fallen by more than half in the last two decades. That reflects a revolution in attitudes. Steven Pinker, in his book “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” notes that only half of Americans polled in 1987 said that it was always wrong for a man to beat his wife with a belt or a stick; a decade later, 86 percent said it was always wrong.

But the progress worldwide is far too slow. Let’s hope that India makes such violence a national priority. And maybe the rest of the world, especially our backward Congress, will appreciate that the problem isn’t just India’s but also our own.

Is Delhi So Different From Steubenville?,
NYT,
12.1.2013,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/
opinion/sunday/is-delhi-so-different-from-steubenville.html

 

 

 

 

 

A Village Rape Shatters a Family,

and India’s Traditional Silence

 

October 27, 2012

The New York Times

By JIM YARDLEY

 

DABRA, India — One after the other, the men raped her. They had dragged the girl into a darkened stone shelter at the edge of the fields, eight men, maybe more, reeking of pesticide and cheap whiskey. They assaulted her for nearly three hours. She was 16 years old.

When it was over, the men threatened to kill her if she told anyone, and for days the girl said nothing. Speaking out would have been difficult, anyway, given the hierarchy of caste. She was poor and a Dalit, the low-caste group once known as untouchables, while most of the attackers were from a higher caste that dominated land and power in the village.

It might have ended there, if not for the videos: her assailants had taken cellphone videos as trophies, and the images began circulating among village men until one was shown to the victim’s father, his family said. Distraught, the father committed suicide on Sept. 18 by drinking pesticide. Infuriated, Dalits demanded justice in the rape case.

“We thought, We lost my husband, we lost our honor,” the mother of the rape victim said. “What is the point of remaining silent now?”

As in many countries, silence often follows rape in India, especially in villages, where a rape victim is usually regarded as a shamed woman, unfit for marriage. But an outcry over a string of recent rapes, including this one, in the northern state of Haryana, has shattered that silence, focusing national attention on India’s rising number of sexual assaults while also exposing the conservative, male-dominated power structure in Haryana, where rape victims are often treated with callous disregard.

In a rapidly changing country, rape cases have increased at an alarming rate, roughly 25 percent in six years. To some degree, this reflects a rise in reporting by victims. But India’s changing gender dynamic is also a significant factor, as more females are attending school, entering the work force or choosing their own spouses — trends that some men regard as a threat.

India’s news media regularly carry horrific accounts of gang rapes, attacks once rarely seen. Sometimes, gangs of young men stumble upon a young couple — in some cases the couple is meeting furtively in a conservative society — and then rape the woman. Analysts also point to demographic trends: India has a glut of young males, some unemployed, abusing alcohol or drugs and unnerved by the new visibility of women in society.

“This visibility is seen as a threat and a challenge,” said Ranjana Kumari, who runs the Center for Social Research in New Delhi.

In Haryana, the initial response to the rape after it was disclosed ranged from denial to denouncing the media to blaming the victim. A spokesman for the governing Congress Party was quoted as saying that 90 percent of rape cases begin as consensual sex. Women’s groups were outraged after a village leader pointed to teenage girls’ sexual desire as the reason for the rapes.

“I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don’t need to go elsewhere,” the village leader, Sube Singh, told IBN Live, a news channel. “This way rapes will not occur.”

The most vulnerable women are poor Dalits, the lowest tier of the social structure. Of 19 recent rape cases in Haryana, at least six victims were Dalits. One Dalit teenager in Haryana committed suicide, setting herself afire, after being gang-raped. Another Dalit girl, 15, who was mentally handicapped, was raped in Rohtak, according to Indian news media accounts, the same district where a 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a neighbor.

“If you are a poor woman who is raped, you cannot even imagine a life where there will be justice,” Kalpana Sharma, a columnist, wrote recently in The Hindu, a national English-language newspaper. “If you are a poor woman and a Dalit, then the chances of justice are even slimmer.”

Haryana is one of India’s most entrenched bastions of feudal patriarchy. The social preference for sons has contributed to a problem of some couples aborting female fetuses, leaving Haryana with the most skewed gender ratio in India, 861 females for every 1,000 males. Politically, the upper Jat caste largely controls a statewide network of unelected, all-male councils known as khap panchayats, which dominate many rural regions of the state.

Elected leaders are reluctant to confront the khaps, given their ability to turn out voters, and often endorse their conservative social agenda, in which women are subservient to men. Khaps have sought to ban women from wearing bluejeans or using cellphones. One khap member, Jitender Chhatar, blamed fast food for the rise in rape cases, arguing that it caused hormonal imbalances and sexual urges in young women. Mr. Singh, who suggested lowering the legal marriage age, is also a khap leader.

“They are working the blame-the-victim theory,” said Jagmati Sangwan, president of the Haryana chapter of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association. “They are diverting attention from the crime and the criminals, and the root causes.”

Yet public anger is clearly bubbling up. Small protests have been staged across the state, including one this month in the town of Meham, where about 100 men and women picketed the district police headquarters over the rape of a 17-year-old girl. They waved signs demanding “Arrest Rapists!” and “Justice for Women” and chanted “Down with Haryana Police!”

Here in Dabra, about 100 miles from the Pakistan border, villagers say there is no khap panchayat but rather an elected village council where the leadership position, known as sarpanch, is reserved for a woman under nationwide affirmative action policies. Yet the male-dominated ethos prevails. The current sarpanch is the wife of a local Jat leader, who put her forward to circumvent the restriction. During an interview with the husband, the official sarpanch sat silently in the doorway, her face covered by a gauzy scarf.

“No, no,” she answered when asked to comment, as she pointed to her husband. “He’s the sarpanch. What’s the point in talking to me?”

The gang-rape of the 16-year-old girl occurred on Sept. 9 but remained a secret in the village until her father’s suicide. Dalits formed a committee to demand justice, and roughly 400 people demonstrated outside the district police headquarters, as well as at the hospital where the father’s body was being kept.

“We told them that unless you catch the suspects, we would not take the body,” said a woman named Maya Devi. “We do not have land. We do not have money. What we have is honor. If your honor is gone, you have nothing.”

Since then, the police have arrested eight men — seven of them Jats — who have confessed to the attack. There are discrepancies; the victim says she was abducted outside the village, while the suspects say they attacked her after catching her having a tryst with a married man.

“She was raped against her will,” said B. Satheesh Balan, the district superintendent of police. “There is no doubt.”

Officer Balan said villagers told the police that other local girls had also been gang-raped at the same stone shelter, though no evidence was available. Often, a girl’s family will hide a rape rather than be stigmatized in the village. Even sympathizers of the teenage victim doubt she can assimilate back into Dabra.

“It will be difficult on her,” Ms. Devi said. “Now she is branded.”

In an interview at her grandparents’ home outside the village, the victim said she believed other suspects remained at large, leaving her at risk. (Female police officers have been posted at the house round-the-clock.) Yet she has actively pushed the police and joined in the protests, despite the warnings by her attackers.

“They threatened me and said they would kill my family if I told anyone,” she said.

Many Dalit girls drop out of school, but the victim was finishing high school. Even in the aftermath of the rape, she took her first-term exams in economics, history and Sanskrit. But she no longer wants to return to the village school and is uncertain about her future.

“Earlier, I had lots of dreams,” she said. “Now I’m not sure I’ll be able to fulfill them. My father wanted me to become a doctor. Now I don’t think I’ll be able to do it.”

 

Hari Kumar contributed from Dabra.

A Village Rape Shatters a Family, and India’s Traditional Silence,
NYT,
27.10.2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/world/asia/
a-village-rape-shatters-a-family-and-indias-traditional-silence.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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