News / Asia

Sexual Violence Widespread in India, UN Says

Anjana Pasricha
A mission to India by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women has concluded that sexual violence and harassment is widespread in the country.

After a 10-day visit to several Indian states, Rashida Manjoo said sexual violence targeting India women is perpetuated in public spaces, in the family and in the workplace.
 
Rashida Manjoo gives a news conference in New Delhi, India, May 01 2013.Rashida Manjoo gives a news conference in New Delhi, India, May 01 2013.
x
Rashida Manjoo gives a news conference in New Delhi, India, May 01 2013.
Rashida Manjoo gives a news conference in New Delhi, India, May 01 2013.
“There is a generalized sense of insecurity in public spaces, amenities, transport facilities in particular," she said.  "And women are often victims of different forms of sexual harassment and assault.”
 
Her visit to India came four months after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus put a spotlight on the lack of safety and security for women, and on the social attitudes towards them.

That incident prompted the government to tighten laws against sexual violence that mandate stricter punishments -- including, in some cases, the death penalty for rape.
 
Manjoo stressed that sexual violence is just one of the many problems Indian women face. They are also victims of domestic violence, dowry related deaths, crimes in the name of honor and several other forms of violence.
 
The U.N. envoy also expressed concern about the declining female sex ratio in India, widely blamed on discrimination against girl children.  She said the state’s failure to prevent violence against women has made it a reality of their lives. Manjoo says laws exist, but women are often unable to register their complaints. She also says the problem cuts across economic classes and blames it on deeply entrenched norms of patriarchy and cultural practices.   
 
With reference to the new law against sexual violence, Manjoo says India lost an opportunity to establish a broader law that would ensure equality and non discrimination of women.  
 
“It was a golden moment for India to examine whether the legislative policy measures are sufficient to address deep systemic structural aspects, and that is what I regret, that it was a lost opportunity," Manjoo said.  "India has an amazing constitution, equality and nondiscrimination, special measures, ecetera. The challenge is how do you translate constitutional guarantees to make sure that they can be enforceable.”
 
So far, even the new law does not seem to have been a deterrent - the number of rapes reported has increased, including those of girls as young as five. The law also fails to address important issues such as marital rape, which did not fall under its purview, she said.
 
Manjoo is also calling on India to tackle the problem of violence against women in conflict areas. A law called the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is widely blamed for human rights violations that include rape. She visited the northeastern state of Manipur to listen to the first-hand testimony of victims, and is reported to have wept after speaking with the mother of a 24-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and killed by soldiers.    
 
The U.N. official says top government ministers and lawmakers in New Delhi did not respond to her requests to meet but she says she met with other lower-level officials and with and civil society groups working to end violence against women.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid