Why is India Really Unsafe for Women?
Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef 13 Dec 2019
India emerged as the most dangerous place for women among the 193 United Nations member states. According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, India is the world's most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour. War-torn Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third in the survey of about 550 experts on women's issues, followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia. However, Women and Child Development ministry declined to comment on the results.
The only western nation in the top 10 was the United States, which ranked joint third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex. Experts said India moving to the top of the poll showed not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.
In order to establish their findings, the agency reached out to 759 experts on women’s issues across the globe between 26 March and 4 May. They received around 548 responses. The questionnaire sent out dealt with six parameters: cultural traditions, discrimination, healthcare, human trafficking sexual violence and non-sexual violence.
- Culture & Religion: Including acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage, forced marriage, punishment/retribution through stoning or physical abuse or mutilation and female infanticide/foeticide
- Discrimination: Including job discrimination, inability to make a livelihood, discriminatory land, property or inheritance rights, lack of access to education and lack of access to adequate nutrition
- Health: Including maternal mortality, lack of access to healthcare, lack of control over reproductive health and HIV/AIDS
- Human trafficking: Domestic servitude, forced labour, bonded labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery.
- Sexual Violence: Including rape as a weapon of war; domestic rape; rape by a stranger; the lack of access to justice in rape cases; sexual harassment and coercion into sex as a form of corruption.
- Non-Sexual Violence: Including conflict-related violence and forms of domestic physical and mental abuse
What does the law say?
- Article 21 of the Indian Constitution lays down the right of every person to life and liberty.
- In 1992, the government formed the National Commission for Women (NCW), a separate body for protecting and promoting the interests of women.
- The Indian government brought the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence in 2005.
- The Indian Penal Code terms sexual harassment and assaults as an offense under Section 354A to 354D and 376A to 376D.
In 2011, when a similar poll was last conducted, India ranked fourth behind Afghanistan, Congo, and Pakistan. Government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by 83 percent between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour. Even though the sample size of the survey was small, India is still an unsafe country for its women no matter what happens. The increased number of frequent incidents of sexual violence and other atrocities not only give weight to this report but also give an insight to the world how deadly the conditions are in here. As long as our country will not come out of its rigidity, male chauvinistic society and the patriarchy, women will be tortured and disrespected no matter how much we assert that we’ve progressed.
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