The fact that West Bengal has the third highest rate of crimes against women in India, is a known fact, but as expected most of these crimes go unreported. According to a report by BBC, writer Sudhiti Naskar, visited a small village in the state, called Murshidabad, where she closely examined the lives of the women who live in such remote areas that have little access to healthcare and basic infrastructure.


Naskar reported the reasons why most women in the region remain silent after facing sexual violence. (The report only stated women talking about rapes and abuse outside of marriage.) The reason why young girls don’t, and often encouraged to not report these crimes is because rape would mean the loss of virginity and that is a massive obstacle in finding a groom for the girl. In most societies, only a virgin bride is considered respectable, and being a victim of rape, gives them a bad name. This is the main reason why widows and divorcee women getting remarried becomes such a taboo.


But it isn’t just the honour of the girl or the family, that’s at stake; it’s also about the village or the community getting a bad name. Other times, the perpetrator is powerful enough to obstruct any legal action against him. The BBC report points out that in some cases, the police too are under political pressure to not take any action.


As sad as the story of this village is, what is worse that these conditions are prevalent in most parts of our country. While we constantly talk about women empowerment, what we really need to work towards is changing this sense of ‘honour’ that is attached to a woman’s body, preventing her from getting justice. By burying such crimes, one empowers the perpetrator, leaving him free to repeat these actions, knowing that he will face no consequences.



[Featured Picture Courtesy: BBC]