Thursday, February 13, 2014

About The Violence Against Women In India

Since I first learned of the 2012 case of the brutal Delhi gang rape, which gained international attention, I was disturbed to learn of the rise in reports of similar crimes perpetrated towards Indians and foreigners. It was the attack on a Danish tourist near a popular shopping area in India's capital city last month that really made my blood run cold. Through my own research, I learned of other horrific cases of rape in India that are almost too overwhelming to comprehend. Some of them include a case of a Polish woman raped with her young daughter present in a taxi cab by the driver; a couple ambushed by a group of men while bicycling in Central India; and a nightmarish account of a woman who was raped by order her village council as punishment for who she chose to love. I have read and been told by Indian family members and friends that the increase in reports of rape are a result of more people coming forward to the authorities and the media; fear of reprisals from the perpetrators and being ostracized by their communities continue to be serious deterrents to justice.

As the daughter of first generation Americans who came from India, I have had mixed feelings about the country. As a child, all I knew about India from my two visits there were that I had many Indian relatives, the climate was very hot and rainy, vegetation was lush, and I was a mosquito magnet.  It was only during my last two visits to India as an adult that I learned to appreciate its many cultures, languages, customs, climates and landscapes. Like America, India is more diverse and complex than most people can comprehend, including myself.  Now, however, I am wondering if I will return to my parents' birth country any time soon.

It's not just fear that something horrible will happen to me or someone I know; it's the corruption and misogynistic attitudes that make progress in the prevention of these attacks and the aftermaths faced by victims slower than it should be. There are many wonderful, outspoken Indian women and men in the country facing this issue head-on, and now with more people reporting these attacks, the need for true reform in all levels of society is more vital than ever. As an outsider with some insider knowledge, I see how influential the Indian movie and TV industries could be in transforming some of the sexist, backward attitudes that have contributed to the extreme violence towards women in the country. Strategies like public service announcements that reach out to men and women of all ages would be great, as well as more positive stories of rape victims becoming survivors could make enormous positive impacts.

There are so many other things that need to happen, such as dealing with how families raise their sons and daughters; encouraging all people to report cases of abuse to the authorities; and revising academic, governmental, and medical institutions' policies on how to help survivors and their families. Unfortunately, I have heard too many stories of people who are further victimized by their communities after going public, and for me, that is unacceptable.

True, systematic change will not happen overnight, but I hope to see some significant reforms in my lifetime. After all, India transformed from a British colony into a democracy with a flourishing economy in a matter of decades. I know (as do so many others) that changes in India's cultural, social, and legal policies regarding all forms of abuse must happen, so the nation's progress into a brighter future will become a reality.

1 comment:

MRV said...

865too many,restrictions and taboos keep the Indians sexually starved and unsatisfied leading to sexual atrocities.the supieriority of the male ,sexual anxiety and ignorance of sexual enjoyment may be the reasons for attack on the weaker sex

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