Why Are Indian Girls Afraid

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<ul><li><p>Why Are Indian Girls Afraid </p><p>On my way to the jogging park yesterday, I saw a young girl of about 10 years crying in her </p><p>mothers lap while a crowd was beating a man and police standing on a side. On enquiry I was told </p><p>that the man had taken the girl to his room without his parents notice but before he could do </p><p>anything people found out and saved the girl. In fact, saved is the correct word. There is an </p><p>abundance of such cases in India, albeit with a difference; the girl gets </p><p>raped/trafficked/murdered. </p><p>A study conducted by Ministry of Women and Child Development found that 53% of Indian children </p><p>have faced sexual abuse; 21% having faced its severe form. Though the age between 10-15 years is </p><p>the most vulnerable for them when majority of such abuses happen, such heinous crime is present </p><p>all along the spectrum of childhood. The report categorises various types of sexual abuse keeping </p><p>sexual assault (penetrative) as one. Half of the children who reported sexual assault were from the </p><p>four states of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Bihar. However, since Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and </p><p>Rajasthan do not figure in the most reported states, underreporting must have been a challenge for </p><p>the researchers. Having lived in northern India for a larger part of my life, I have seen the extent of </p><p>sexual abuse of girls in these states. </p><p>On gender issues India is vertically divided into two sections, of which the larger section is of </p><p>misogynists. Though both young boys and girls are sexually abused, the brunt is taken by the </p><p>adolescent girls. Girls honour, linked to her sexual being, is a big thing in India and is given too </p><p>much importance. Parents, as a measure of protecting the girls honour and in the process, their </p><p>family honour, marry off the girls before they can reach adulthood. However, the sexual abuse of </p><p>the girls does not stop even after marriage. A UNICEF report[i] mentions that a whopping 77% of </p><p>girls who admitted to have faced sexual violence between 15 and 19 years said it is their current </p><p>husband or the partner who committed the atrocity. Young brides are at greater risk than older </p><p>brides of physical, emotional and sexual violence and of curtailed personal freedom and decision </p><p>making power. Besides these girls lose their opportunity to play, go to school and enjoy their lives </p><p>because soon after marriage they have to prove their fertility, to escape the barb, ridicule, neglect </p><p>and even physical abuse that is associated with being a baanj or infertile. </p><p>Still staying on the gender issue, the girl child faces additional threat from the elders who feel </p><p>that the honour of country, family and their caste is directly linked to the honour of girl. Do they </p><p>have a road map for girls to attain honour? Yes, she is NOT supposed to decide who to marry, </p><p>delay her marriage, educate herself, use a mobile phone or even wear westernized attire. If she </p><p>refuses to obey the diktats, the family prefers physical abuse and sometimes homicide rather than </p><p>being dishonoured. In absence of any support/education to increase their self-confidence, </p><p>girls are too shy or scared to report such sexual abusesincluding the everyday cat calling, touching </p><p>and groping, sexual invites, and indecent exposure. </p><p>India is now the fourth most dangerous place for girls in the world,[ii] primarily due to female </p><p>foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking. Though upto 50 million girls are thought to be 'missing' </p><p>over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide[iii], fear of the foetus and infants </p><p>cannot be documented and therefore can only be felt. Where trafficking is concerned, about 90 per </p><p>cent takes place within the country and there are three million prostitutes, of which 40 per cent </p><p>are children. Should a girl be afraid under such circumstances; the correct answer is obvious. </p><p>Is there any solution to this inhumanity towards children, especially girls? Yes, there definitely is. </p><p>But to fathom the depths of the problem and intervene we need to first talk about it, recognize </p><p>what is happening to girls in India and not just brush it under the carpet because sex or sexual </p><p>abuse is a taboo subject and we would rather continue looking the other side. Our girls are our </p><p>assets and the question we have to ask ourselves is how long we should let them be exploited. </p><p>file:///C:/Users/Leela%20Mulukutla/Desktop/blog.docx%23_edn1file:///C:/Users/Leela%20Mulukutla/Desktop/blog.docx%23_edn2file:///C:/Users/Leela%20Mulukutla/Desktop/blog.docx%23_edn3</p></li><li><p>The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind's most basic duty to </p><p>protect the innocent..James T. Walsh </p></li></ul>


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