India: An Increasing Number of Gender-Based Violence Cases Make Women Speak Up
Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:40 AM

According to recent research, gender-based violence in the form of rape, kidnapping, dowry-related violence, harassment, or molestation in India increased around 7.1% since 2010. Alarming numbers of reported incidents of crime and recent tragedies, such as a 14-year-old girl setting herself on fire after a brutal gang rape, has made Indian women speak out against the violence. Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde urged police director generals and inspectors in New Delhi to adopt necessary measures to fight gender-based violence.

Experts say that the main problem is an entrenched patriarchal mindset denying women as independent and equal.  Member of Parliament and the head of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), T. N. Seema states that only one-fourth of the total accused perpetrators received any kind of punishment. In addition to changing laws and policy, socio-cultural changes that increase access to property, education, and employment for women must also take place. Recent academic studies revealed that governmental reforms, such as imposing quota systems to boost female political representation, were linked to the increase in the number of reported cases of gender-based violence. Researchers believe there are two reasons for this link: “First, greater numbers of female politicians make the police more responsive to crimes against women. Second, women victims who encounter more sympathetic women leaders may feel more encouraged to report crimes.”

Compiled from: Violence Against Women Surging in India, IPS (October 29, 2012).