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violence against women

February 6, 2013

I was going to touch on all 12 of the UN Commission on Status of Women issues, but because time is short, I want to focus on the topic for this CSW – Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.     What a huge and painful topic.   Since beginning my own education, I find the facts are highly disturbing.  It is a tough subject, but one that must be addressed in the open or else we cannot fix it.

However – it is such a difficult subject, that I am having an extremely difficult time writing about it.     We have all seen the news about the horrific rape and murder of a 23 year old student in India.   Searching the web, I have discovered other equally disturbing articles of others – an 11 year old girl gang raped and undergoing 14 reconstructive surgeries.

The BBC has an article  reporting that a rape is reported in India every 21 minutes.   And those are the ones that are reported.  A huge problem is the response (lack of, really) of police.   In some cases, the girls are raped by the police in police headquarters.

Another article, “How India treats its women” describes “missing women” as “women who would have been around had they received similar healthcare, medicine and nutrition as men.   New research estimates that in India, more than 2m women are missing in a given year.”  Parents kill girl babies because it is harder than it used to be to abort them in India (from a discussion I had today with a friend); those who can afford it will abort female fetuses; wives are killed because their families did not offer enough dowry; and women are lost for other reasons that indicate violence against them.    They report that trafficking in 2011 increased 122% over the previous year.

The treatment of women in India needs to be addressed, and many women are in the streets demanding change.  Good.   Let us collectively demand change, support the women and men of India who want to see gender equality, respect for all women and girls.

Let’s not forget, though, that violence against women does not end at the Indian border.

If we look at what is going on here at home (the US), we see that things are not so different.    According to this article, a rape is reported every 6.2 minutes in the US.  Compare this to the article on Indian stats.  Hmmm – 300m people report a rate every 6.2 minutes, and 1b people report a rape every 21 minutes.   Seems out of proportion, so perhaps not all rapes are reported in India.   And, another web site indicates that only 16% of the rapes in the US are ever reported to police.   

Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.   (Hillary Clinton, Beijing, 1995)

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