Women’s rights are human rights. These famous words were said by Hillary Clinton in a speech she delivered on Sept. 5, 1995, in a suburb of Beijing, focusing on issues women repeatedly face across the world. In 2017, we are still discussing this, and that’s truly the tragedy of all humanity. “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights,” Hillary Clinton, 7, said at the United Nations Fourth World Congress on Women. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights—that first recognized the human rights of women and girls.

It’s been fiver years since the Nirbhaya case

Women rights are human rights - series in the week of Nirbhaya
Women rights are human rights – series in the week of Nirbhaya

How could they not be? That’s the question people ask. It’s a no brainer, isn’t it? But just what holds it back from being displayed? From becoming a reality? From being practised? In India a 6 year old was brutally raped. The Haryana girl was murdered, found with 16-cm wooden stick inserted in private parts. A cancer patient was gang raped and when she sought help from a commuter, he raped her too. She was 15 years old. These incidents anger you and they shock you and you could kill for this? And we are talking women’s rights? In a country where women aren’t humans. Where our upbringing is flawed, where we don’t educate children on what’s right and what’s wrong (but we remember to turn them into engineers?) and we debate over whether or not sex education should be in the curriculums? That’s why in our nation a 12 year old rapes a 5 year old? Where this boy is the son of the landlord and the girl a labourer’s daughter. Privilege in India comes by birth? And by training?

In India a 6 year old was brutally raped. The Haryana girl was murdered, found with 16-cm wooden stick inserted in private parts.

RAPES

It’s been fiver years since the Nirbhaya case. That fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl on a bus in New Delhi. Where she was repeatedly raped by men in the bus while her boyfriend was made to watch. The rapists then stuffed her insides with iron bars. We cringed at this. We cried. We carried out night vigils. Five years on, we have some numbing statistics to tell us all those voices weren’t heard enough? Reported attacks increased to more than 34,000 last year. In 2012-2013, the number of women raped in a day were 92. According to statistics reported by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the total number of rape cases reported in India has gone up to 33,707 in 2013 from 24,923 in 2012. This number is 34600 as of August 2016.

Where our upbringing is flawed, where we don’t educate children on what’s right and what’s wrong (but we remember to turn them into engineers?) and we debate over whether or not sex education should be in the curriculums?

Women are raped in daylight, in full view of people and pubic where dozens simply filmed the horrific scene in the Indian city of Visakhapatnam.This was October 2017. In that same month two men were arrested accused of gang-raping a woman and then pouring acid on her genitals.

Rapes have to go beyond being a headline number. When women look around they fear, nothing’s changed.

Reported attacks increased to more than 34,000 last year. In 2012-2013, the number of women raped in a day were 92.

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THE WEINSTEINS

There is a Harvey Weinstein lurking in most organisations. They come in different packages – some as bosses, some as uncles, acquaintances. They are emboldened by repeat errors going unnoticed. Most of them believe women will not report because they will bring the embarrassment to themselves. In early October 2017, American media reported dozens of women had accused Harvey Weinstein, a prominent film producer and executive, of engaging in sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape. More than 80 women in the film industry subsequently accused Weinstein of such acts. Weinstein denied “any non-consensual sex”. This led to a global campaign where women came out and spoke about their own harassment by the hashtag #MeToo.

SOCIETY SCARES

Indian society in particular has shunned women who stand up for themselves, let the truth out. It’s changing in some urban homes but mostly after a battle with family and relatives at large that women come out and speak out. I remember a story of a young girl who came up to me and praised the work SheThePeople was doing. But she said despite her evolved sense of women’s rights she couldn’t convince her uncle’s to stand up for their daughter. The girl had gone missing for a few days, her friends raped her and when she returned the family told her to forget about and get about living her life. In interior India, for those who go report it, it does add them to the statistic but ask them how the society treats them? Women are abandoned by their families and left to defend for themselves. At some level education isn’t even the answer. Or perhaps the education system has a flaw?

POLITICAL EXAMPLES

Since’s Donald Trump’s arrival in the Oval Office there are so many women who have come out to speak about the President’s sexual advances and harassment. The entire political class is beginning to get uneasy about his behaviour but somehow no one knows how to close this out. In India, the last 12 months have seen many harassment cases come to the fore – whether they were investors taking advantage of women, or a karate coach raping his student, a doctor raping his patient and so on.

In India’s political scene, the horrific and repulsive stories of ‘Guru’ Ram Rahim are testimony to what power does to some people. Found guilty of rape, his behaviour didn’t come in the way of politicians using his clout to garner votes.

‘The rate of crimes against women depended on the how completely dressed they are and how regularly they visited temples. Rapes in the state of Chennai are comparatively less as their women are always completely clad and visited temples regularly’ said Babulal Gaur, a BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh.

Shaili Chopra is the founder of SheThePeople

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