Saturday, December 27, 2008

Easing the agony of rape victims - little steps to make a difference.

Last week a bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha that gives us a reason to cheer!
The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Act - the one used to nail rape offenders (amongst others) - has been amended to provide some relief to rape victims.
  • Rape cases willl have to complete trial in two months
  • Video and audio conferencing can be used in the trial
  • Recording victims' statements at the place of their choice
  • Having female judges record statements

These little changes will make a big difference IF they're implemented.
With India emerging as the third worst rape offender in the world, ( and statistics painting a terrible picture of gender violence in India (
we need stringent laws that nail offenders, systems that make it easier for the victim to co-operate and movements that change mindsets.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Killing baby girls makes you a murderer

Here’s a passionate write-up by Fight-Back member Amruta Mehta.

We’re a country of mass-murderers who speak of Gandhi and his ideals, and go around killing two million babies every year, before they are born. Just because they are female.

Did anyone ever think that Gandhian and mass-murderers could ever fit into the same sentence?

We’ve actually done it.

How are we any different from Pol Pot or Hitler? How are we any different from anyone who tries to systematically kill a particular kind of human being. Hell, we’re a whole country of Hitlers.

In 1990, we had 945 females for every 1000 males, up to 6 years of age, in our country. In 2001, this changed to 927 females to every 1000 males. [1] What a glorious self-created twisted unbalanced ratio this is. What’s more: we are all collectively responsible for it.

Congratulations, India, you’ve done it. Over and over again. And you’re getting better at it every day. Who says we don’t live in a free country where nothing is impossible?

Calling ourselves a country of hypocrites is giving hypocrites a bad name. Perhaps cold-blooded mass-murderers is more fitting.

Take the case of Lakshmi in Tamil Nadu. She already had a daughter, so when she gave birth to a second she decided to kill her. For three short days of the child’s life, she refused to nurse her. Her neighbours sympathised and poisoned the child until she bled to death. Because it would be better for the baby to die than to suffer the way her mother did. [2]

In July 2007, police in Orissa discovered as many as 30 bags stuffed with female fetuses and body parts of new-born babies near a private clinic close to Bhubaneshwar. [3]

This is gender violence of the worst kind.

In 2005, a woman was raped by her father in law. The village panchayat decreed that she was no longer ‘pure’ for her husband, should marry her father-in-law instead, the marriage was annulled, and her five children were now the responsibility of her husband. [4]

And it’s not just the uneducated, rural poor who are to blame.

Our very own Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs. Sheila Dixit, retorted to the news of a girl’s murder at 3 am on by saying, “You should not be so adventurous.” The victim, Soumya Visvanathan, was on her way home from work after a late night shift.

Is it any wonder then that even we women want to kill our kind before we are born? Who else would know how much better it would be to end life than to actually live through this hell?

Of course we want to kill them.

Because, once they get older, we will have to pay for their dowries. We will have to pay to educate them, put them on the market to find a man and then find enough money to give them away. They’re a liability. The part of the population that are our mothers, sisters, daughters and wives—they’re a liability.

Like the saying in Hindi, “Raising a girl child is like watering the neighbour’s garden.”

How did this happen? When did this happen? When did we turn into such savages? When did we become this careless? When did we selectively start murdering such a large part of our population?

Is it a child’s fault that she will be expected, at a later stage of life, to be given away to another man in a sickly money-changing custom that we have imposed on ourselves? Is it her fault that we must pay a man if he is to marry her? When did a girl become a liability?

Since WE made her a liability.

And what about the women who do hurt or even kill, their own daughters and sisters? Would they want to hurt themselves just for the fault of being born?

If as a woman you have not spoken up, remember: you are just another female that wasn’t aborted at birth or killed as a child.

For men who are perpetrators and silent witnesses: your mother, your wife, your daughter, even the woman you love—each one of them is a girl who wasn’t aborted at birth or killed as a baby.

Don’t tell us that this is our past, present, and will be our future. This is our culture. This is our way of life.

No, don’t say it and don’t accept it when someone tells you that.

You wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for your own mother who gave birth to you.

We’re the country that gave the world Indira Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Shabana Azmi, Kiran Bedi, Arundhati Roy and Kalpana Chawla.

Don’t think that those who actually put women through this hell will face no backlash. You’re lucky that the mute baby girls that you kill don’t have the faculty to retort.

Each one of those 30 girls that was discovered dumped away in a bag could have been tomorrow’s doctor, engineer, prime minister, lawyer, or activist. Each one of them could have saved other lives in turn. Each one of them could have contributed to the progress of our nation.

Lakshmi’s daughter could have helped ease her own mother’s suffering.

Have compassion on yourself. Let’s stop our own downfall. And we can do that just by welcoming every baby girl that comes into this world with the same joy and love that you would show towards any new-born boy.

Give them enough love so they find the strength to love themselves. Educate them while. Support and help them follow their dreams, no matter how wild, ambitious and unconventional.

When you see violence against women, speak up. Fight back.

Fight-back now or it may be you tomorrow.

Fight-back now or you’re dead.

Because without our women, loved, educated and respected, we’re a country of savages.

- Amruta Mehta is an Astrophysics graduate with a Masters from the International Space University in Strasbourg. She believes in Fighting back against Gender Violence.

[1] Source: Population Reference Bureau,, last access date: 22 Nov ‘08

[2] Source:, taken from Dahlburg, Where killing baby girls 'is no big sin', last access date: 22 Nov ‘08

[3] Source:, last access date: 22 Nov ‘08

[4] Source:, last access date: 22 Nov ‘08

If you wish to contribute to this blog, do write to Fight-Back member and moderator of this blog Aarthi Gunnupuri, at

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What are we going to do about the stats?


THAT EXCLUDES THE 133 ELDERLY WOMEN WHO WERE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED! Yes, we're pretty democratic about rape.

UTTAR PRADESH - 1,648, BIHAR - 1,555, RAJASTHAN - 1,238!

How can the nation's capital be far behind! THE MIGHTY DELHI IS AT 598 (REPORTED CASES)

And if you thought things are any different beyond the Vindhyas get this, ANDHRA PRADESH 'ENJOYS' THE 'DISTINCTION' OF HAVING 3,316 REGISTERED SEXUAL HARRASMENT CASES IN A YEAR! THE HIGHEST IN INDIA!

*STATISTICS COURTESY: National Crime Records Bureau (For the year 2007)

Time to pop the bubbly folks? Rape another women or two?

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Monday, December 1, 2008

"Fight-Back", says Dolly Thakore!

Fight-Back has thousands of supporters across the country. And every member brings his/her passion, skill and talent to Fight-Back, against Gender Violence.

In this video Dolly Thakore, Indian Theatre Actress, Casting Director and Fight-Back member urges others to Fight-Back.