Rape, domestic violence, child abuse go hand-in-hand in India and everywhere else

rapeThe most thorough, most sickening and astounding overview I’ve seen of the fatal rape of the paramedic student in India appears in today’s Daily Beast: India’s Fatal Rape Was Typical in a Country That Degrades Women. Journalist Anuradha Roy explains the context of why rape is commonplace, and why the protests won’t make much of a dent in the power structure:

In the 2009 parliamentary elections, India’s political parties fielded 6 candidates charged with rape while 34 candidates were awaiting trial for crimes against women. In the state assemblies, 42 members had rape or associated charges against them at the time of their

election. In all, according to a recent report published by the Association for Democratic Reforms, India has over 300 such politicians in power.

She ends the piece by noting that 20 more rapes have been reported in Delhi since the Dec. 16 paramedic was “virtually disemboweled”, including a three-year-old in a play school. That would also be called child abuse. A previous post in May that noted the stunningly high levels of child sexual abuse in Delhi is worth repeating here:

SATYAMEV JAYATEA TALK SHOW HOSTED BY BOLLYWOOD actor and filmmaker Aamir Khan, takes on the shockingly high rates of child abuse in India. His first show, which debuted last week, focused on female foeticide — the practice of killing unborn girls because of Indian society’s desires for sons. The episode that aired today in India is likely to cause even more controversy, according to this report on IBNLive.com.

Aamir has stirred up a hornet’s nest as statistics have shown in the past that sexual abuse of children is rampant in Indian metros, with the abuser often known to the child.

A survey conducted in 2007 by the Women and Child Development Ministry and the NGO Prayas in association with Unicef and Save the Children across 13 states and with a sample size of 12,447, found that 53.22% of children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Delhi had reported the highest percentage of such incidents at that time.

Satyamev Jayate means “Truth Alone Prevails”.

The fact is that rape, domestic violence and child abuse are intertwined. If there’s one, the other two are just as prevalent. In fact, domestic violence IS child abuse. It’s been shown to stunt the growth of the developing brains of children who witness their mother being battered. Many communities in the U.S. are including domestic violence in their definition of child abuse. Sadly, many more have not, partly because the approach to reducing and preventing rape, domestic violence and child abuse are siloed into many different organizations, whose efforts are diffused.

(Monday, Jan. 7, 2013) Postscript: I forgot to add that it’s very likely the young men and juvenile who are accused of attacking, raping and murdering the young woman were themselves the victims of child maltreatment. That kind of behavior usually does not come out of nowhere — it’s experienced, it’s witnessed, and, without intervention, it’s passed on.

One comment

  1. Thank you for bringing awareness to the horrible sexual abuse that seems to run rampant in India. It should be a strong message to all of us to protect our own children in our country from such unforgiving acts of abuse. In all my years in education, I have never seen a more damaging impact on a student’s life than being a victim of sexual abuse. It is a wound that is carried for a lifetime….and is the root cause of so many victims that take a path in life that keeps the wound bleeding. Even for those courageous individuals that have taken steps to find healing…..they still carry the scar. As a nation and as a community, we have to take a stand to protect our children. We have to advocate for services that can intervene early and provide the counseling and support for victims of sexual abuse. I pray for the children in India that the abuse and suffering will become an out cry for justice, and that women and children some day soon will be valued and respected…..the manner in which a society takes care of their children, reflects the values and respect of their culture. India has shown the world what a disgraceful society looks like.


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