In the wake of increasing cases of violence against women and children,especially in rural areas, Dalit women’s rights body Saturday said women belonging to lower sections are most vulnerable and an attitude change in the society can correct the problem. “There are certain characteristics of sexual violence committed on women from the marginal section in rural areas that are uncommon in urban spaces of the society,” said Asha owtal from All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM).
Kotwal claimed that perpetrator in such cases are mostly upper class men and age-old practices of parading women naked,treating them as ‘witches’,harsh verbal abuse,forceful consumption of excreta among other things are still performed to degrade the victims.
“Whenever there is progression of any form in the backward communities,like girls going to school or seeking jobs,rape and abuse cases start cropping up,” she said.
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Noted actress and celebrity advocate,UNICEF,Nandita Das said,”I feel its a double whammy for the marginalised women. She is a victim from two aspects,firstly because she’s a woman and then that she belongs to a certain section of society.”
The actress is known for her role in movie ‘Bawandar’,based on real life rape case of a dalit woman named Bhanwari Devi.
The condition in the urban spaces is not any better,claimed social activist Kalpana Vishwanath from ‘Jagori’,an NGO.
“There is a silence over the sexual abuses especially domestic violence and violence in public places. This silence must be broken,” she said.
Kalpana has also co-founded a smartphone application named Safetipin’,which crowdsources and maps information about safety in neighbourhood and cities.
The panel also included Dora Giusti,Child Protection specialist from UNICEF,Anju D Pandey from UN Women,Pamela philipose from Women’s Feature Service,Mannika Chopra and Aruna Singh from IWPC.
A panel discussion on ending violence against women and children was organised by Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC),UNICEF and UN Women.