Solidarity with national outrage on gang rape of Delhi women, gender issues in India

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 22:The Christian community is in solidarity with civil society, which has this week taken to the streets of metropolitan cities protesting the brutal gang rape of a physiotherapist in a moving bus in New Delhi. The community has organized prayers for the recovery of the girl who is now battling for life in a hospital.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India also condemns the teargas and cane charge by the policed on the protestors who were marching to the Parliament and Secretariat complex in the national capital. While the EFI welcomes measures announced by the government, including fast track courts to bring the guilty to book, and projected changes in law, it joins the demand for comprehensive legislative and governance measures to bring a sense of security to women in the country.

The gang rape is symptomatic of the gender issue in India. Government’s own data shows that while New Delhi is now called the rape capital of the country, India itself has registered an alarming rise in sexual crimes against women. Every 3.5 minutes, a crime is committed against women in India.

On an average day in India, 45 women were raped, 121 sexually harassed, and 14,630 women and minor girls kidnapped. Sexual violence is but a part of the totality of gender violence, which begins with the unborn girl child. Female feticide in India increased by 49.2% between 1999-2000, 21 women murdered for dowry and another 135 women were tortured.

Domestic violence constitutes 33.3% of the total crimes against women. And finally, 12,134 women were driven to commit suicide due to dowry. Data shows
1,10,424 housewives committed suicide between 1997-2001 and accounted for 52% of the total female suicide victims. Thomson Reuters’ Trust Law Women ranks India with Afghanistan, Congo and Somalia as one of the most dangerous places for women.

EFI shares civil society concerns that a patriarchal society, its villages and peoples’ groups enforcing an archaic feudal social code, an uncaring police, and a slothful judicial system have aggravated the mystery of the rape survivors. It remains a matter of shame that the major political parties have given only lip service to justice for the survivors.

The common people are now crying a halt to this total disregard for the dignity and safety of women.The EFI calls upon the government and the Supreme Court to take urgent steps to restore the confidence of the people, especially the women and assure them of their safety and security said Rev. Dr. Richard Howell General Secretary Evangelical Fellowship of India in his press statement.(SP News)


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