India: It’s all connected!

Yet again, another horrifying rape case shakes India, reminding us of the rampant violence

Street art in India

Street art in India, Pondicherry

against women in the country. However, I think I’m mostly baffled by the lack of analyses of why these acts of violence occur in the first place. How can one expect a society to respect girls and women when families only want boys? What kind of signals does it send when the birth of a daughter is of less value than that of a boy, and mothers are blamed when they don’t have any sons? The ramifications for the country’s demography are serious, when so many female embryos are aborted. It seriously skews the sex balance in the country, and leads to a large surplus of boys and men. This leads to many men having difficulties in getting married, and women become sources of frustration and anger, which in turn leads to the horrific cases of rape and sexual violence. It also leads to an increase of trafficking of the most vulnerable girls and women, and sex slavery. In addition, how can one expect people to have a natural relationship to the opposite sex and sexuality when they live so segregated from each others, and normal  interactions are restricted? When girls’ and young women’s worth only equals their chastity and virginity status?

Things are changing in the cities, but in many parts of the country, traditions and conservative gender stereotypes still prevail. Nobody wins from this, and both women and men suffer from the consequences.

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