Thursday, July 10, 2008

Violence against women in India

I live in a city of many cultures and I don't really want to pick out one. But there are faces that haunt me, women and girls whose eyes I can't forget. I know them for a few years and then they move on. Sometimes a young teenage girl is sent back home to marry.

Don't get me wrong, I also know some of the most wonderful people of all cultures. This story is not about one culture, it is about all cultures, which contain within them the seeds of these transgressions. It is not about all people but about some people. I know these stories. Some people shut their eyes to them. What else can you do?

Violence Against Women in India

Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction. Manifestations of violence include physical aggression, such as blows of varying intensity, burns, attempted hanging, sexual abuse and rape, psychological violence through insults, humiliation, coercion, blackmail, economic or emotional threats, and control over speech and actions. In extreme, but not unknown cases, death is the result. (Adriana, 1996) These expressions of violence take place in a man-woman relationship within the family, state and society. Usually, domestic aggression towards women and girls, due to various reasons remain hidden.

Cultural and social factors are interlinked with the development and propagation of violent behaviour. With different processes of socialisation that men and women undergo, men take up stereotyped gender roles of domination and control, whereas women take up that of submission, dependence and respect for authority. A female child grows up with a constant sense of being weak and in need of protection, whether physical social or economic. This helplessness has led to her exploitation at almost every stage of life.

The family socialises its members to accept hierarchical relations expressed in unequal division of labour between the sexes and power over the allocation of resources. The family and its operational unit is where the child is exposed to gender differences since birth, and in recent times even before birth, in the form of sex-determination tests leading to foeticide and female infanticide. The home, which is supposed to be the most secure place, is where women are most exposed to violence.

Read the rest here.

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