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Indian Women Campaign to End Violence Against Women

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Download The United Nations reports that 1 in every 3 women across the globe are beaten or raped during their life time.

This means more than 1 billion women have been subjected to violence.

To tackle the issue, the ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign was held last week in over 200 countries.

Jasvinder Sehgal joined the crowd in Jaipur.

Hundreds of women gather at Jaipur’s Statue Circle.

They’re shouting slogans, demanding an to end all forms of violence against women.

Among the crowd is Bhanwari Devi.

Bhanwari was gang-raped more than 20 years ago. At the time she was protesting against child marriage.

Because she’s a member of the lower-castes, the court accused her of fabricating the incident.

But the State government decided to appeal against the judgement, which then led to a nationwide campaign for justice for Bhanwari.

15 years after the incident, the appeal is still pending in Rajasthan’s High Court.

“My fight hasn’t come to an end even after struggling for so many years. I will continue my fight no matter what the result might be. My struggle for justice is an example of the government’s incompetence. I’m not fighting for myself, but for  society and all women.”

She is still being threatened with harassment and physical assault.

“I will not back down. I’m angry by the way Indian women are being harassed and victimised. I’m angry that the government is sleeping and not taking any decisions. In my opinion, the culprits should be hanged immediately.”

Many social activists support her fight.

This includes Aruna Roy, winner of the 2002 Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s Nobel Prize.

“She has been fighting for the last 25-30 years. She comes from a rural background but the fight for justice, it’s immaterial – whether you come from a rural or urban background, whether you are literate or illiterate. The most important thing is that you have the courage to fight against the system. Our state government should rethink it’s decision after an illiterate woman shocked the entire nation in her fight for justice. We need reforms to our social and administrative system to provide justice. We shouldn’t take her life (for granted) or stop her fight. She has support at a national and international level, but her fight still continues.”

India passed tougher laws against rape earlier this month.

The law raises the minimum punishment for anyone convicted of gang-rape or raping a minor to 20 years. It even allows for the death penalty in extreme cases.

But women’s groups in India say that the law should include marital rape and sexual assault by members of the armed forces.

Rajasthan state governor Margaret Alva, leads a group of people taking a pledge to end violence against women.

Sushma is a 12th grade student.

She says all young girls should learn lessons from Bhanwari’s experience.

“We are girls are created by the same God who created those beasts, who raped not only our bodies but our souls. Don’t ask a girl to change her ways of working, talking or behaving. Teach your son, how to respect a girl.”


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:52 )  

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