This year has started off on a somber note for the women and girls of India. Once again we are reminded that we cannot take anything for granted, not our safety, our human rights or our lives.
There was the terrible mass molestation of women on New Year’s Eve in Bangalore on MG Road and Brigade Road. In Uttar Pradesh, four men dragged a 20-year-old young woman from her street, attempted to rape her and cut off her ear when she resisted. In Haryana, an 80-year-old woman bled to death after assailants inserted a bottle of toilet cleaner into her anal cavity.
These are just three of the incidents that have been reported. They are gruesome and vicious and send shivers down my spine. How many more stories never make it to the newspapers? It is a fact that whilst sexual violence is a global pandemic affecting one in three women on an average, more than 80% choose not to talk about it.
Why do so few talk about sexual violence or report it? Mainly socio cultural factors, like the fear of bringing shame to one’s self and one’s family and fear of dealing with the police. This is compounded by the insensitivity shown by influencers like politicians who claim that “these things happen” and that women bring it upon themselves by wearing “skimpy” clothing or being out late at night.
A growing number of us refuse to stay silent however and Safecity is co-hosting a night with SheThePeople where anyone can come and share their stories of sexual violence or gender inequality. You are not alone. There are many others who have faced similar experiences. Let’s come together and form a community where we can find help, support one another and be the strength that is needed to end this violence against women and girls.