How Safe Are Women in India?
Having been born and raised in India for 12 years, I came to realize that the country’s problems automatically become mine. It is safe to say I spent my childhood living in a cocoon because I was never unveiled to the barbaric side of the country. It wasn’t until recently that I stumbled upon a major issue facing women in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 118,866 domestic violence cases, 70,739 molestations cases, and 51,881 kidnapping cases against women were reported in 2013. Out of these, 98% of the cases were committed by someone known to the victim. These alarming statistics brings out the question of how safe are women in India’s society today. Over the centuries, the rising number of assault cases on women doubts the security of the new women generation. One of the main reasons of violence against women is the mentality that women are inferior to men as servants and mere objects of attaining sexual pleasure. Even though the religious Hindu scripture glorifies women as the one who gives life and is worshiped as a goddess, women find themselves oppressed and subjugated in a patriarchal society. To reduce the number of offense and crime against women in India, lawful steps must be made by Indian authorities.
While many Indian women have taken leadership in professional positions and public life, much more spend their life behind household walls facing various societal issues. The struggles of women have only increased over the years. Setia—a candidate at the Elliott School of International Affairs—strongly believes that the patriarchal culture of India is the most responsible for women’s oppression. Because society in India sees women as a burden on the family, they are usually victims of sexual, mental, and emotional assault by their own family members. Some of the important issues focused in this current event paper are: the dowry system, infanticide, child bride, and labor bias against women in India.
The dowry system is an ancient custom that still remains as the major reason for discrimination towards Indian women. It is the “giving of gifts or money to a groom” by the bride’s family as a marital tradition. (The Dowry System). The first attempt by the government of India to identify dowry as malevolent is the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. The act has been modified multiple times after to meet the society needs. The Act defines dowry as a punishable offense. Even after a lawful action has been taken by the government, the dowry abuse has only increased and become a part of the caste system. In a written reply by the Lok Sabha—House of the People—ministry Maneka Gandhi said that 8,233,8,083 and 8,455 cases were reported under dowry death in the country 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively (Press Trust of India). The most common way of dowry death is the bride burning—that is the burning of women whose dowries were not considered satisfactory by the groom and his family. These cases