Sunday, October 25, 2015

How India's "Untouchable" Women Are Fighting Back Against Sexual Violence

Here is a good article on how India's untouchables are fighting back against sexual violence, which they face more than any other group in India.

Manisha Mashaal was five years old when her schoolteacher first called her an “untouchable” in front of the rest of her class. 

“That’s when I found out why my family’s house was so close to the trash dumpsite of the village, and why it was so separated from houses of the dominant castes,” Mashaal said. 

India is home to more than 100 million Dalit women, according to the 2011 national census. The Dalit, sometimes referred to as "untouchables," have long been considered the lowest rung of the Indian caste system.
For Dalit victims of sexual violence, Marshaal said, response from police officers is often "How can you have been raped? You’re a Dalit — touching you would make anyone spiritually impure."

And Mashaal was far from alone. A study by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights found that more than half of Dalit women had suffered physical assault. More than 46% have suffered sexual harassment. Twenty-three percent have said they had been raped. 

Here is another article on sexual violence faced by Dalit women in India. The author is a Dalit woman who says the Hindu Caste system breeds such rape incidents - 'India' cast culture is a rape culture'. You can read the piece by clicking here.

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