“A Woman Brought you into this World, so you have no right to disrespect one.” -Tupac Shakur
Headlines in the daily paper has bride burning, suicide from domestic violence, acid violence, women being beaten up black & blue, gang raped & violence in the most brutal form & shape- mental & physical !
In India there is a crime against women in every three minutes, one rape every twenty nine minutes and one recorded case of dowry death in every seventy seven minutes. Cases of cruelty meted out by husbands and in laws are seen in every nine minutes. Patriarchal terrorism where one partner uses economic and social power to maintain control over another human is very common in India and other Asian countries due to the subservient status of women.
(Source :Domestic Violence in India Statistics)
Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls
1. The most common causes for women being abused and battered include dissatisfaction with the initial dowry resulting in continued exploitation of women for more, not cooking properly or on time, going out of home without telling her husband or in-laws, suspicion of extra marital affairs – The Tandoor Murder Case of Naina Sahni in New Delhi in the year 1995 in an example of such a suspicion (Naina Sahni), infertility or giving birth to girls rather than boys. In today’s world where the women works, some of the factors leading to abuse could be the women earning more than her husband, outrageous sexual abuse at work, eve teasing and street harassment.
2. Violence against young widows has also been on the rise in India. Many times the women are cursed for their husband’s death and are deprived of proper food and clothing. They are not allowed or encouraged for remarriage in most of the homes, and this is true even today in many rural areas.
3. Female foeticide and female infanticide continues to be a rising concern and is on the rise in India. In fact to quote Rita Bannerji of 50millionmissing Girls, from (50millionmissing)
“This is the message that India’s, just released, 2011 census data sends out.
The data reveals that in the age group 0-6 years, the gender ratio is 914 girls to 1000 boys. Which means, for every 1000 boys, there are at least about 60-70 girls under the age of 6 years who were killed before or within 6 years after birth.
This is the lowest gender ratio recorded since India’s Independence in 1947.”
“A 2011 report on a study conducted jointly by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Harvard School of Public Health confirmed that girls under 5 years in India were dying at an abnormally high rate because they were being subject to inhumane violence at home by their families. The study observed that girls were 21% more likely than boys to die before their 5th birthday because of violence. And infant girls, who were one year and younger were 50% more likely to die because of violence than boys that age. The head researcher commented, “Shockingly this violence does not pose a threat to your life if you are lucky enough to be born a boy.””
For the full article refer Link
What Happens to the Victim and the Oppressor
Many times the oppressor gets away with crimes like rape, dowry deaths & other forms of violence against women due to their connections or when the survivor or the victim is asked for witnesses for the rape or other forms of violence. Delayed and or denied justice, harassment by police, social taboo and lack of support from the system are the main reasons most cases go unreported and marital rape is still not considered a crime in India.
Below are some recent examples of pressure from parents on girls to continue with the marriage no matter if she is being physically and mentally abused, Government apathy to the Issue of Rape, & general lack of support from the system, literate and educated girls who consent to their parents giving dowry and continue to stay on in an abusive marriage inspite of being beaten black and blue and finally at the cost of her life.
3. Kavita Krishnan : Women Struggling Against Rape in India
- Is it the so-called culture and myth in India, where men were and are still considered to be the bread-winner, Patriarchal dominated society of India?
- Non acceptance of Girl right from the time the parents know that the foetus is a girl thereby leading to Killing the female foetus and female infanticide.
- The Girl’s Parents who consider it their obligation to give dowry whenever demanded and thus feeling that whenever a girl is born in the family it would be a huge drain on their financial resources.
- Parents pampering the Boy Child and discriminating the girl child which gives a superiority complex to most typical males in India.
- Witnessing parental domestic violence has emerged as the strongest predictor of perpetration of violence in young people’s own intimate relationships.
- Women stay on in an abusive relationship (even the most educated and literate) because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of staying ? and the fear that she will not be accepted by society if she walks out of a relationship, thus risking her own life.
- To prevent the children from undergoing the hardships if she separates from the spouse. Also the traditional and orthodox mindset makes them bear the sufferings without any protest.
WHAT DO WE DO?
We live in the twenty-first century and yet we see and tolerate violence and yet the so-called educated and literate bear violence and pay a price of their life. Are we going to be silent and join the oppressors.
High time we engage in this cause to stop Violence Against Women which include spreading the message asking girl’s parents not to engage in giving dowry for their girl’s marriage, stop forcing a woman to stay in an abusive relationship, accept a rape survivor as part of our society and encourage her to share her story so it lessens her burden, stop the preference given to boys over girls as part of our day-to-day living.
- Use the power of media to convey these important messages – such as stopping child marriages, not giving dowry, making the public aware about the consequences of violence against women.
- People who are being tortured and are in an abusive relationship should take the help of a friend or Samaritan organizations like Bell Bajao.
- Have the Bollywood stars to promote this cause.
- Make it part of the formal education process.
- Spread the word through face book pages like Causes, organize activities like “Walk in her Shoes”, Twitter and other forms of Social Media
- Make sure that the oppressor is punished. India does have a Criminal Law, we need to make sure that it is used in the right way.
- Bring men to fight against violence and abuse against women. Get men together in a community who are willing to take a stand to support efforts to end sexual violence against women.