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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid