Rape Epidemic in India
The rape epidemic in India garnered international attention in 2012, when several men brutally raped and beat a woman, Nirbhaya, on a bus. The event immediately spread across the globe and sparked massive international outrage. This pushed the government to promise new laws. However, it did not make any tangible changes. A minor positive change was a social shift resulting in more women finding the strength to report cases of sexual assault. Perhaps the most gruesome fact from this brutal event is the regularity of gang-rape in India. Nirbhaya’s case, while one of the most horrifying stories of rape, is only one among thousands.

Solutions in Bangladesh

There is a precedent for solutions to these types of problems. One solution is for the law to change in a way that punishes those who physically or sexually abuse women. Bangladesh has effectively lowered its acids attacks on women to just 75 in 2014 whereas it was previously 492 cases in 2002. It accomplished this by mandating the death penalty as the crime for acid attacks. Since Bangladeshi men now fear the severe ramifications for an acid attack, they refrain from hurting women with this method. However, if Bangladesh and India enacted rigorous laws for all types of abuse on women, then at the very least, those particular men would not be able to abuse women at as drastic of a level as they are currently.

Snehalaya Provides Aid to Abused Women and Children

Women who suffer abuse can still have hope since many NGOs are actively working to support the victims and help them get back their dignity and return to a normal life. One example is Snehalaya, which provides a safe space for women and children who are suffering abuse, and helps over 15,000 people per year. Snehalaya strives to use “grassroots outreach and education” to lower the amount of domestic abuse and violence that occurs in India. Women who are victims of sexual abuse can count on Snehalaya to provide the proper support group to push them towards a normal life, which is even more important because sometimes a woman’s parents may not accept her after she has become a victim due to social stigma.

Another solution for the rape epidemic in India is women’s empowerment through properly educating women, which is what Sayfty strives to do. It strives to provide women the tools to be safe from acts of sexual violence and to teach women how to defend themselves. While the first solution provides a legal means for female empowerment and the second provides a way to help them after they become victims, Sayfty is essential because it empowers women to stand up for themselves while suffering abuse or at least provides them with knowledge of how to get away from predators and get help.

The efforts of millions of women who are finding the bravery to call out abusers are defeating the rape epidemic in India. The laws in India are slowly changing to match modern social attitudes. NGOs are empowering women to lead their own fight. Though change is slow, it is inevitable, and more women are getting the justice they deserve every day.

Anish Kelkar
Photo: Flickr


Women's Empowerment in IndiaKnown for its magnificent temples, colorful cities, crowded streets and more, the country of India attracts tourists all the times of the year. Located on the Asian continent, India occupies the second largest position worldwide regarding its population. As of 2012, up to 1.3 billion citizens lived in the country.

Such density of population creates an enormous quantity of citizens who live without the basic necessities to meet their needs. Thus, poverty in India is a major concern around the globe. Along with it, the main problem in the Asian country is how women are viewed in comparison to men.

As India and its population grow, its social, political and economic rights continue to be fair toward men, but not women. Women’s empowerment in India is put aside while the country’s society focuses on the empowerment of men. Approximately 43.4 percent of women suffer from crimes committed by their husbands or family members. As of 2015, the government’s lack of action has positioned India as 125th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Report’s Gender Inequality Index.

Legal action toward rape, sexual abuse and discrimination against women are falling within the Asian country. According to UNICEF’s Global Report Card on Adolescents in 2012, 57 percent of Indian teenage boys believe that a husband beating his wife is always justified, and 53 percent of teen girls believe the same.

Being a woman in India seems to be a toll on not only the women themselves but the parents of women as well. During the past thirty years, between four million and 12 million female babies have been aborted, and the numbers only seem to be going up.

India’s ways, customs and traditions regarding gender have not evolved as the same pace as they have in other countries. However, some are willing to fight for women’s empowerment in India. Such a fight has been started by women’s rights organizations like Sayfty and Women on Wings. By creating awareness, providing more job opportunities for women, offering self-defense classes and more, women are learning how to stand up for their own rights.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr