Friday, October 12, 2012

What the Hell India - Marrying off Children to Avoid Rape

Hello Folks.

My apologies for generally being absent from blogging as of late - life has indeed been busy for me. I'm currently teaching 13 students and planning a recital. It takes up WAY more time than you or I think.

So. Another installment of What the Hell India is on the agenda.

The state of Haryana (which houses Delhi FYI) has an absolutely horrid record when it comes to rape. This week, a case has come to the attention of the papers of a Dalit (lower economic class) woman who was gang raped by multiple young men coming from richer houses.

 Here is Haryana for your reference:

Because everything in India has a political undercurrent, the Dalit leader from Haryana felt it necessary to weigh in. His opinion was that we just need to change marriage laws to get children married in order to avoid rape.

Ok, what the Sam diddly hell???

1. The Dalit representative had no answers for why this happened to married women or why married men where often the culprits.

2. He also ignored the fact that being married young often leads to spousal abuse and is responsible for a great number of malnutrition cases.

3. This is not the 18th century.

4. Marrying young is a foolproof way to ensure that the woman will be much less likely to be educated or financially independent.

The problem here is not when young ladies get married - it is a problem involving a patriarchal society with way too few protections for women. As much as I love this country, I cannot ignore the fact that women of all ages and socioeconomic niches are generally left out in the open when it comes to making women equal. Unfortunately, rape is a reality in India, one far too many women have to face. In an ideal world, no woman should have to worry about being accosted by a group of men while walking to her grandmother's house during the day. She should not have to stay inside during the night if no male is there to escort her outside for whatever reason she needs to go out. Unfortunately, India is a society that holds far too many men accountable that this is still as big of a problem as it is. Non-accountability added to non action on the part of society marks this action as passively acceptable. We are not in the stone ages anymore. Rape is never ok, no matter what the circumstances are.

My own husband has urged me not to go walking in the outside ring of our compound late at night. In general, for a woman with a tiny bit of common sense, this is common knowledge. Rape has nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with control. And India has a very poor record when it comes to allowing women to control themselves; it's almost a national ethos. Even the idea that a woman belongs in the kitchen adds to the general idea that a woman has no right to control her own life.

India, this is not modern country behavior. This nonsense has to stop. The UN pleaded with the entire country to not take this suggestion of child marriage seriously at all. It will NOT solve this problem, it will only set the country back a few hundred years and add to the burden of problems this country is already facing. For the love of everything holy, can we stop treating women like weak little idiots that can't possibly control themselves, their future or their sexuality and just start valuing them as the half of society that they are? This is definitely one issue that breaks my heart on a regular basis solely because it's not at all rare.

Knock it the heck off men. And everyone, let's not accept solutions that set us back a few hundred years instead of calling this problem as it really is.