Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, June 14, 2014

 India's Ongoing Shame

"Because of lack of toilets, [women] go outside for defecation and they fall prey to the unsocial elements or the bad elements."
"It takes ten to twenty years for a trial and this also is causing some problems."
"India can provide [a] toilet in each and every house and that can prevent this type of rapes (happening) because of no toilets."
"They are so slow in their implementation of the schemes. If a scheme started today, it'll take ten years, twenty years -- that's the problem." Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, NGO Sulabh International

"Such attempts [rape of young girls in the act of relieving themselves] happen. Sometimes boys are there and do catch girls, particularly if a girl goes alone. They try to do bad things."
"I made a toilet after facing lots of trouble. Forests get filled with water (when it rains). If we go on the road, people pelt stone at us, some do other things."
Imarti Devi, Haryana state

Imarti Devi had a toilet installed in her home three years back, and worked as well to have toilets built in 104 other homes in her village. NGO Silabh International has installed 1.2-million individual toilets, and eight thousand public toilets across India in an attempt to help solve two issues; one of personal hygiene requirements, the other of stemming the violent attacks against women and young girls.

Epoch Times ... Venus Upadhayaya, Imarti Devi from Himithia village in India's Haryana state sits with other women of her village in the office of NGO Sulabh International on June 10. The NGO recently helped these women install toilets in their homes, reducing their vulnerability to sexual abuse.

Mr. Pathak, the founder of Silabh International and the crusading mind of its extremely vital stemming of the tide of sexual abuse and worse, speaks of national laws whose punitive effect are insufficient to persuade men and boys that they will be severely punished for such psychotic violence aimed at the weak and the vulnerable among them.

In a vast country with more than its share of social, religious, legal, political, international and potential conflict problems, the newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who appears a man dedicated to the common weal and good, common sense, may make a difference. Hope is high that this is a matter in general -- the lack of respect and commitment to respect for women, safeguarding their health and safety -- which will receive his firm attention.

During the recent election campaign, Mr. Modi spoke of "toilets before temples", acknowledging his understanding of the vastness and scope of the problem within Indian society. The hope is that his concern may be translated to direct and meaningful action, that the phrase will not turn out to be merely a handy campaign throwaway issue, and that measures will be found to turn society around to its obligation to protect its women and children.

Almost half of the country's 1.2-billion population are left to their own inventive devices and desperation to protect themselves while performing the most elementary of human needs; the evacuation of bodily waste. With no toilet in over a half-billion homes people must resort to relieving themselves in the out-of-doors. With increasingly fewer options because rapid urbanization has reduced the cover of trees and bushes, women in many areas of the country find themselves with few options other than to wait until dark falls to venture out, in relative privacy.

That privacy comes with a dreadful cost; incessant fear of being sexually abused under the same cover of darkness that gives opportunity to sexual predators. There seems to be no lack of such deviant psychopathic minds, to take advantage of women and girls when nature insists that the vulnerable take steps to relieve the body of its wastes. There is also no lack of horrific sexual assaults against Indian girls and women under other conditions as well, in a culture where a collective shrug responds to their plight.

In late May in a village in Uttar Pradesh state, two teenage girls from the Dalit caste who are viewed as subservient to the more high-caste Hindus in the country which makes them even more vulnerable to assault, were apprehended as they relieved themselves in a field. And though others were present, including an uncle of one of the girls, their abductors felt sufficiently protected by their caste, that they threatened him with a gun, and made off with the girls.

Police use a water cannon to stop crowds  from moving towards the office of Yadav, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, during a protest against recent rape and hanging of two girls, in Lucknow Protesters took to the streets of Uttar Pradesh in fury after last month's case
The two girls were later found, after a futile, desperate effort by the father of one of the girls, to enlist the help of local police who evidenced no interest whatever in pursuing their duty. Though the father knew where the girls had been taken, he was turned away with contempt at the door of the house that held them. There the girls were subjected to gang rape, throttled to death, and hung by their throats under a tree, where the villagers found them.

Every time a horrible event such as this takes place in India, it inspires dread and fear in women. Each time something like this takes place, women form protest groups and go out in their numbers to campaign against society's laxity in giving them the protection they deserve, and they are joined by men who believe as they do, that this basic responsibility is lacking. And each and every time such atrocities are reported, they seem to inspire other deviant men to repeat the horrors, time and again.

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