The issue of violence against women is of global precedence as it takes place all around the world and efforts towards gender parity is wasted unless the violence is addressed.
(Image Credits: Saudi Gazette)
In 2012, following the brutal gang-rape and death of a young girl in Delhi named Jyothi Singh, BBC facilitated and released a documentary called India’s Daughter. The documentary maps out Singh’s story in excruciating details, including but not limited to the rapists’ hatred of the fact that she was a woman who was out at night with a male friend and the rapists’ lawyer’s statement claiming that he would pour fuel on his own daughter and set her on fire in public if she dared do the same thing. The documentary was eventually banned in India. Nevertheless, the documentary had one main message- India is no country for women.
Following the release of the documentary India’s Daughter, journalist Annalisa Merelli commented that the title of the short-film was a dishonour to everything Joythi Singh stood for. She was a dreamer, an aspiring doctor and a fierce citizen, and it was unfair for India to claim her making, when everything she embodied was not because of India, but arguably despite it. Instead, the author calls for a change of title and a claim that the rapists’ were in fact India’s sons. India did not provide her with a society that respected her, or a safe bus for her to take home, but rather provided a breeding ground for her rapists; uneducated men who were the result of a culture based on patriarchy and violence.
(Image Credits: Cartoon Movement)
The documentary was met with worldwide outcry and condemnation of Singh’s rapists. Despite the ban of the film, citizens of Delhi took the streets to revolt and call for the immediate hanging of the men who committed this heinous crime. More and more rapes and cases were being reported. Delhi was named the Rape Capital of India. In 2015, the National Crimes Bureau announced that approximately 35,000 cases of rape were reported across India, with victims ranging from ages 18 to 30 being the most prominent. This statistic was at an all-time high in the country. However, Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, warned that the figures should be analysed with caution. The reporting rate had gone up following the support shown towards Jyothi Singh. Even this heightened number should be taken with a pinch of salt; rape is highly under-reported in India, as the society represses a woman’s autonomy, especially her sexual autonomy.
(Image Credits: NCRB India, Al Jazeera)
I truly believe that violence against women is one of the most pressing issues we face in today’s world. The matter and concern grows when we realize that this kind of bias women face is not limited to India, but in fact is prevalent all across the Sub-Continent. The first ever Gender Parity Report in Pakistan revealed that there had been a 20 percent hike in the rate of reported cases of violence against women- and this was not including the 173 cases of honour-killings that took place in 2015 (Desk, 2016). According to Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) statistics, reports of rape across the country has been in a steady incline since 2010 (dhakatribune, 2016). Against common misconception, such treatment of women is even common across the global West. A Huffington post article notes that between the years of 2001 and 2002, approximately 6000 American troops were killed during combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the same two years, the number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners was double that amount at a whopping number of 11,766.
In today’s era, women are fighting and striving globally for an equality of civil liberties and the closure of the gender pay gap. I do not think any of these issues can be eradicated or even addressed until we completely eradicate violence across women around the world. Feminists are currently taking the streets in opposition of the shutdown of Planned Parenthood in the USA, under the government of the new President-elect Donald J Trump and his wingman Vice-President elect Mike Pence. France faced global backlash following the ban of the niqab, as this was seen as a dictation of the way women should dress. However, women will never achieve parity if the world doesn’t even believe that the brutal murder, rapes, physical and emotional violence against women is a large enough issue to abolish. Inequalities that women face is not an isolated incident, it is based upon years of patriarchy and an insidious, poisonous problem that is rooted deeply within a world that truly does not deem women as worthy.
In 2015, after watching the India’s Daughter documentary, Dubai-based slam poet Chandni Ganesh, wrote a piece called Azaadi (Translation from Hindi to English, ‘Azaadi’ means ‘freedom’). An excerpt from the poem reads;
“You can hear the people chanting/
You can hear the people crying/
You can hear the people wishing/
I dream of a day where we can finally hear our women calling for Azaadi. For Freedom.
Merelli, A. (2016). No, Jyoti Singh is not India’s daughter. [online] Quartz. Available at: http://qz.com/356299/no-jyoti-singh-is-not-indias-daughter/
Aljazeera.com. (2016). India: More than 34,000 cases of rape reported in 2015. [online] Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/india-34000-cases-rape-reported-2015-160831140518208.html
Desk, W. (2016). Violence against women has increased: report – Pakistan Gender News. [online] Pakistan Gender News. Available at: http://www.pakistangendernews.org/violence-women-increased-report/
Archive.dhakatribune.com. (2016). Rape, rape-murder rising | Dhaka Tribune. [online] Available at: http://archive.dhakatribune.com/crime/2015/may/31/rape-rape-murder-rising
The Huffington Post. (2016). 30 Numbers That Prove Domestic Violence Is An American Epidemic. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html
Ganesh, C. (2016). Azaadi. [Blog] Available at: http://chandniganesh.tumblr.com/post/150356139016