For women in India, the last century has marked a great amount of progress, but at times it has been as stubborn as all the centuries before it. Women have been expanding their roles in society, at home, and even politics with female Prime Minster Indira Gandhi. Gender roles are ingrained deeply, however, and that is no more apparent than in the current rape epidemic. Specifically the last 40 years have been some of the most promising for Indian women, but they have also seen an 875% increase in rape cases (Park). The answers to why this is happening, and why it is happening now may open up a much deeper issue. The social climate is changing; a power struggle between genders steadies the quantity of violence against women. Meanwhile, their empowerment to speak out and hold a rapist accountable brings it to the attention of the world. A longstanding injustice that has been occurring right bellow the surface for years may have reached its boiling point.
Over the last year and half, it has been uncommon to see the word “India” in the news without the word “rape” accompanying it. In one instance, a 16-year-old girl from Dabra, India was raped by at least eight men for three hours. The assault was video taped and shown to the members of her village, including her family. After seeing the video her father committed suicide (Yardly). In another, a 23-year-old student was raped in a bus and died from her injuries, and in two separate occurrences 5 year old and a 4 year old were both abducted and brutally assaulted (Park).
For centuries it was rare for a raped woman to speak out India. Especially in the smaller villages like Dabra, they are branded by the actions of their rapists. To this day, the stigmas are s...
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...s not exist. This is a complicated situation and it requires various actions. India is in a transitional phase, and there are many power struggles happening at the same time. Women are gaining influence in the country, men do not always respond well to that. High castes have lost the support of the government when it comes to their inherent social status. Muslims and Hindus have been fighting over control for decades, and the traditional values that were held for so long are at odds with the modern ways. Each of these contribute to the stabilization of violence against women, and solving this problem will not be a simple as we may like. It is easy to accuse Hindu-Indian culture of being compliant in the crimes committed against its women, but we simply cannot ignore all the other factors that play a role. Complex situations call for complex solutions, nothing less.
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