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India's Youth Keep Spotlight on Violence Against Women

India's Youth Keep Spotlight on Violence Against Womeni
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February 14, 2013 6:33 PM
Demonstrations against women's violence have not quelled in India since the brutal gang-rape of a woman in the capital, New Delhi, nearly two months ago. Throughout India, thousands of young people are taking part in mass dance protests this Valentine's Day as part of a global campaign. VOA's Aru Pande has more from New Delhi.
Aru Pande
Demonstrations against women's violence have not quelled in India since the brutal gang-rape of a woman in the capital, New Delhi, nearly two months ago. Throughout India, thousands of young people are taking part in mass dance protests this Valentine's Day as part of a global campaign.

Nearly a hundred strangers from all over the city have come together here with one message:  "Wake up New Delhi and rise up against violence,” chant the protesters.
 
This flash mob is just one of many gathering Thursday in the Indian capital as part of the worldwide “One Billion Rising” movement - highlighting the number of women who are survivors of abuse.
 
  • Participants gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate and dance for the 'One Billion Rising' movement, Berlin, Germany, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Students from St. Scholastica's College, an all-girls' school, dance in a global kickoff campaign for One Billion Rising, Manila, Philippines, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Indian women shout slogans during an event to support the "One Billion Rising" global campaign in Hyderabad, India, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Women and activists participate in an event to support "One Billion Rising" global campaign in Mumbai, India, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Jane Mukuninwa, 25, dances during a global rally "One Billion Rising", Bukavu, DRC, Feb.14, 2013.
  • Young Turkish women dance joining the One Billion Rising movement, a worldwide rally to call for the end to violence against women and girls, in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Women dances on a street to support the "One Billion Rising" global campaign in Lagos, Nigeria, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Bosnians participate in the One Billion Rising campaign for women’s rights action in Sarajevo, February 14, 2013.
  • A group of women and men dance as they participate in an event labelled 'One Billion Rising' at a park in central Sydney, Australia, Feb. 14, 2013.

When the call went out over Facebook, 25-year-old fashion designer Shruti Singh knew she had to take part in order to challenge long-held views about women in Indian society.
 
“If we don’t walk the talk, it’s not going to make any impact, and the patriarchal mindset and the systems that have been in place for thousands of years are not going to change overnight or with one protest," said Singh. "It’s a starting of a revolution, it’s like another struggle for freedom, freedom of women from oppression.”

This year, in particular, the call for action resonates for many in New Delhi. On December 16, a young woman was brutally beaten and gang-raped aboard a bus. She died later of massive internal injuries.
 
Immediately after the attack, thousands took to the streets demanding greater protection for women. And two months later, young professionals like Sakshi Bhalla - who choreographed this flash mob dance - are trying to keep the issue of violence against women alive in the public mindset.

“We reached a point where everyone realized that this is it, there was no way that they were going to deal with this anymore and the idea of everybody calling Delhi a ‘rape city’ was really not okay, and I think everybody’s rising up now to make sure we turn it into a safe city,” said Bhalla.

And it isn’t just young women who are taking up the cause. Second-year college student Mohammad Danish said the issue of women’s rights and protection should resonate with every man.

“If we talk about women, I also have two kinds of women [in my house], first of all, my sister and my mom and if we think about this kind of rape and all, we also think about our family,” Danish said.

The murder trial of five of the six suspects accused in the gang-rape continues this week in a fast-track court, and many here plan to take their message to parliament. 

Lawmakers are set to discuss a new criminal law targeting violence against women. Rights groups say it falls short in addressing the issues of marital rape and police accountability, and focuses too much on punishment and not enough on prevention.

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Comments
     
by: kanaikaal orumporai
February 14, 2013 7:09 PM
India's establishment, the police and the military, is an inherited setup from her colonial masters, who deliberately institutionalized these kinds of behaviors to contain possible uprisings against their rule. Without dismantling and rebuilding the institutions afresh, there's not going to be a solution to the issue.

The only thing these so called mass protests, that will only happen if any incident takes place in the capital Delhi or in those parts where the elites dwell, are simply going to fuel some political party to exposit it come to the limelight, nothing else. There are far worse crimes against women taking place in other parts of the Union, but are being neglected by the masses capable of exerting pressure, simply because these events happen in non-Hindi speaking regions.

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