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Authorities Should Address Sexual Violence, Ensure Justice

Protests over sexual assault have renewed in India’s capital, Delhi, after a 9-year-old Dalit girl was killed on Sunday. Her family alleges that she was raped and murdered while fetching water from a crematorium in southwest Delhi. The crematorium’s…
Activists hold a candlelight march protesting the alleged rape and murder of a 9-year-old Dalit girl in New Delhi, India on August 4, 2021. 
News

International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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Authorities Blame Critics After Rape and Murder in Uttar Pradesh State

The rape, torture, and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman allegedly by a group of dominant-caste men in the village of Hathras, in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, has sparked widespread outrage. People across the country are protesting, demanding…
Chandrashekhar Azad, leader of the Bhim Army, a party advocating for the rights of Dalits, speaks during a protest against the gang rape and killing of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh state, in New Delhi, India, October 2, 2020. 
News

Enforce Laws, Create Protection Systems for Children

Protests broke out in the Maldives recently after the rape of a 2-year-old girl. She had apparently been attacked by her father, grandfather, and great grandfather, all of whom were arrested. Her 82-year-old great grandfather had previously been…
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Enforce Laws to Protect Women’s Safety

The 27-year-old veterinarian had called her family to say she was stranded with a flat tire in India’s Hyderabad city, and that a truck driver and his friends had offered to help. Then she stopped answering her phone. Later…
People shout slogans condemning rising cases of rape and violence against women during a protest in Ahmedabad, India, December 2, 2019.
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Why India’s Database of Sex Offenders May Do More Harm Than Good

In response to “stranger danger” fears, India has become the ninth country to adopt a sex offenders’ database, with personal details of those convicted for rape and sexual assault. The year-old database contains 500,000 names and will…
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Proposed Reparations Bill Chance to Compensate Post-Election Rape Survivors

This weekend, I received the sad news that Chepkorir had died. Chepkorir, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, was raped in December 2007. The men who raped her beat her badly and she had been struggling with poor health…
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Some Survivors of Sexual Violence Spend Years Awaiting Compensation

Good things happen to those who wait – or so the saying goes. However, women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence in India can spend years waiting for justice. In 2014, 13-year-old “Razia,” who lives in a…
A young girl with long hair portraid from behind, in front of a field.
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28 years after Kunan and Poshpora, abuses still persist

February 23 sticks in my mind the way a birthday does for most people. After my first 10 years of Bharatanatyam training, I performed my arangetram — a classical dancer’s debut full-length solo recital — on that day in 2013. In telling…
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  India is witnessing the latest advance in women’s fight for workplace equality and dignity. Women in India have furiously taken to social media using the #MeToo hashtag to publicize accounts of workplace sexual harassment. Some of…
People hold a candlelight vigil in Bengaluru, India, to protest the rape of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and a teenager in Unnao, April 13, 2018.
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Concerns Over Vigilante Violence, Data Protection, and Privacy Rights

The Indian government’s plan to develop a national registry of sexual offenders is raising a slew of concerns, from data breaches to violations of privacy protections, including for individuals who were never convicted of a sexual offense. …
Schoolgirls participate in a protest rally against the rape of two teenage girls in Chatra and Pakur districts of Jharkhand state, in Ranchi, India May 8, 2018.
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On May 14, the Kenyan justice system failed women miserably. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya, petitioned the High Court, challenging the provisions of section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act, 2013. The section makes ownership of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
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Need to Enforce Existing Laws to Protect Women and Children

Reeling from protests across the country demanding justice for victims in the recent  spate of sexual assaults, Indian authorities are under pressure to respond. One step the government has decided to adopt is a sex offenders’ database…
Women hold candles as they shout slogans during a protest against the rape of a ten-year-old girl, in the outskirts of Delhi, India April 25, 2018.
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Lawyers Try to Block Police from Filing Charges Against Hindu Suspects

A heated scene outside a courthouse in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state unfolded yesterday, as lawyers physically attempted to stop police from filing charges against six men and a boy accused of raping and murdering Asifa Bano, an 8-…
Lawyers clash with police outside a courthouse in India's Jammu and Kashmir state, April 9, 2018.
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I had already heard many disturbing stories of violence by the time I interviewed Mercy Maina, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy.  Even so, what Mercy told me was truly disturbing. She said she was raped during the post-…
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Could Delhi’s Witness Protection Scheme Be a Template for a Nationwide Law?

A 22-year-old Dalit woman from Lalitpur district in Uttar Pradesh, reported being raped in January 2016. The police were reluctant to act because the man accused was a local leader of a political party with powerful caste affiliations.…
A close-up photo showing the hands of a sexual violence victim in India.
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Created in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gangrape, the Nirbhaya Fund remains underused and the centres lack resources.

“Rape victims don’t really come here,” a woman counsellor from the non-governmental organisation tasked with running the one stop centre in Jaipur said. “They go to the hospital that is connected to the police station where they registered a…
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Only nine states have adopted the 2014 guidelines on medico-legal care for survivors of sexual violence.

"The doctor said to my daughter ‘If they had forced themselves on you, there should have been marks on your body – but you don’t have any. You must have done this of your own free will.’” Palak’s mother said that her daughter, already…
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Despite reforms after 2012 Delhi gang rape, India’s police continue to let down survivors of sexual violence.

“The police beat me up, detained my father, and threatened to lock him up under false charges if I didn’t tell the magistrate that I had filed a false complaint of rape, so I did as they said,” Kajal said of her ordeal after she reported…
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