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India Reflects On Nation's Brutal Treatment of Women, But Will Anything Change in Land of Bride Burning?

In late January 2011, we were hopeful that the rights of Egyptian women would expand as a Facebook and Twitter-fueled people’s rising swept the country to overthrow government of Hosni Mubarak. Today the new Egyptian constitution represents a threat to the existing rights of Egyptian women.

“It’s a disaster. There isn’t a single article in the draft constitution that mentions the rights of women,” said Nihan Abu El Konsam. “We lawyers have made numerous proposals for constitutional articles that would make up for the social and cultural problems in our society and would allow women to finally achieve equal rights. But the Islamists ignored it.”

Within this context of reality, the images and headlines coming out of India like the one above, a street-created shrine to the New Delhi student who died of a brutal gang rape by six men, are positive. But the process of changing India’s patriarchy — a system that demands brutal sacrifices from women on a daily basis in India — will meet the same rock of Gibraltar stone wall that calls for women’s rights and respect in countries all over the world. 

“To change a society as conservative, traditional and patriarchal as ours, we will have a long haul,” said Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Center for Social Research. “It will take some time, but certainly there is a beginning.”

Just yesterday, women in Italy were marching in defiance against the ignoramus claims of Italian priest Piero Corsi that women are co-responsible for their own rapes and violence perpetrated against our bodies and ourselves.

Babies left to themselves, dirty houses, cold meals and fast food at home, soiled clothes. So if a family ends up in a mess and turns into crime (a form of violence which should be condemned and punished firmly) often the responsibility is shared.

It sounds like Rick Santorum talking. Or Rush Limbaugh. Or Mike Huckabee. Read on How Many Other Catholic Priests Believe Women Cause Femicide?

Anne of Carversville has a long history of covering and commenting on aggression against women worldwide. On a day when billions of people worldwide will be welcoming the new year with champagne and its equivalent worldwide, we must pause to honor the women of India. Specifically we honor a young woman raped by six men for over an hour, before one of them thrust a metal pipe deep into her body, destroying most of her internal organs.

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Gang-rape, killing of Indian woman sets off debate about need for country to change via Washington Post.

Out of respect for the victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student died from her massive injuries in Singapore, six men have been arrested and charged with murder in the Dec. 16th attack that occurred on a private bus in New Delhi. Police say they face the death penalty if convicted.

Out of respect for the victim, India’s army and navy canceled their New Year’s celebrations, as did Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party. Hotels and clubs across the capital also said they would forego their usual parties.

“She has become the daughter of the entire nation,” said Sushma Swaraj, a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Answer Is School Uniforms Argues Legislator

At the same time a state legislator from Rajasthan, a state bordering Pakistan, argued Monday that the way to stop rapes would be to change girls’ school uniforms. He appears to agree with Father Corso.

Rajasthan is home to a large faction of the extremist right-wing political group Shiv Sena. Over the weekend the Shiv Sena defended President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijeet who said recently: “pretty, pretty women, who wear lipstick and participate in television debate, and walk the street with candles… have no connection with the ground reality of the country.”

View: Is Rape a new Development Indicator? Rediff News

First, the facts. Not long ago, 18 men in Texas, including five students of Cleveland High School and the 21-year old son of a school board member, gang raped an 11-year-old girl for several hours.

2011 Shiv Sena Protest

Hindu Shiv Sena Protests Swimsuits; How About Bride Burning? AOC World’s Women

Of course, we support Lisa Blue’s decision not to use the image, because we simply can’t put Indian women in jeopardy.

Swimsuits vs Bride Burning

What we want to put in play is the reality of bride burning in India. These same men aren’t marching in the streets over the reality that Lancelet estimated that 100,000 women were burned to death in India in 2001. They expect that the number has increased in the last decade.

Without being disrespectful, let me suggest that this right-wing Hindu organisation Shiv Sena may not have a loud record in fighting bride burning. This article on says these same guys support the most horrific practices against women in India.

Update 12.31.12 Note that Lakshmi is one of the goddesses in my new GlamTribale jewelry collection, dedicated to telling women’s stories before monotheism called these guiding mythical figures pagans.

More Women of India

Girl children at Theertham village of Krishnagiri district. File Photo: K. Bhagya PrakashIndia’s Sex Ratio Problem Deepens As Technology Aids Patriarchy

A recent opinion piece in The Hindu confirms that India’s sex ratio problem is escalating. The ratio has declined from 976 females (for every 1000 males) in 1961 to 914 in 2011. Preliminary data from the 2011 census suggests that many districts have sex ratios less than 850.

‘A large, nationally representative investigation of married women living in 1.1 million households documented markedly reduced sex ratios of 759 and 719 for second and third births when the preceding children were girls,’ writes Professor K.S. Jacob is on the faculty of the Christian Medical College, Vellore. 

Bride Burning & Violence Against Women in Kerala, India

Dowry deaths when families can’t come up with sufficient dowry, resulting in bride burning. The Lancelet estimated that bride burning deaths ran 100,000 per year in 2001. It’s feared that dowry deaths are increasing.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via NYTimesIndian Women March: ‘That Girl Could Have Been Any One of Us’ New York Times

Neha Kaul Mehra says she was only 7 years old the first time she was sexually harassed. She was walking to a dance class in an affluent neighborhood of New Delhi when a man confronted her and began openly masturbating.

That episode was far from the last. Years of verbal and physical sexual affronts left Ms. Mehra, now 29, filled with what she described as “impotent rage.”

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