Little Respect for Women leads to Harassment, Abuse, and Violence
Pranita* ran down the flight of steps to board the train at the Botanical Garden Metro Station in Delhi. If she missed the train, she would have to wait awhile before the next one arrived. Even though the place was well lit, and inside the station there was no indication of the gathering darkness of the evening, she was wary about waiting alone in the train station. Even as she made a dash for the women's compartment, she could hear a group of ruffians teasing and calling her revolting names. She barely got into the women's compartment as the doors closed behind her. Looking at the bright lights of the train station recede, she sighed in relief.
Since the dreadful gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in December of 2012, the media has kept the pressure high on authorities by reporting various incidents of violence against women. In spite of the attention women's safety issues are getting, women like Pranita constantly face the harrowing ordeal of being taunted and sometimes brutally hurt.
The scourge of violence against women is not restricted to urban cities like New Delhi. Women, particularly those who belong to the lowest strata of society, in tiny rural communities around busy metropolises are constantly targeted.
Dalits are people who make up the lowest part of Indian society's caste system. Members of other castes believe raping these women enables them to keep the entire community subjugated. NPR reported the horrendous incident of violence against a mother of young children. Five men dragged her from the house. They gagged and raped her, while her children were sleeping and her husband was away at work. The frequency of these incidents is alarming. It is even more despicable when these defenseless victims are sometimes as young as five and six year old girls.
Authorities are making provisions to ensure the safety of women. A prime example would be the women's compartment in Metro trains. Authorities have put in place stricter laws that will criminalize offenses like stalking and sexual harassment. It will hold responsible police officers who refuse to open cases when complaints of sexual attacks are made. The law also makes provision for the death penalty for rape attacks that lead to the victim's death.
These legal measures will curb the violence to a large extent. However, for women to truly feel safe and valued, deeply entrenched attitudes toward women will have to change. Everyone--men and women, young and old--needs to see women as valuable members of society. They ought to cherish baby girls just as they would baby boys. They must love adolescent girls just as they would adolescent boys. They need to respect women just as they would men.
Pray women who have been subject to violence and abuse find healing in Christ Jesus, who binds up the broken-hearted (The Bible, Psalm 103:1-5).
Pray for social ills, like casteism, to be rooted out of society. Pray that the knowledge and experience of Christ's unconditional love will transform people and society (The Bible, Romans 12:2).
Pray God would remove negative attitudes toward women in India and in other 10/40 Window Nations. Pray for a realization that every human being is a precious creation of God (The Bible, Genesis 1:27).
Pray for the innocent and defenseless children who experience the pain of abuse. Pray for their complete emotional, physical, and mental healing through Christ Jesus (The Bible, Matthew 4:23).
Pray God will eradicate this demonic abuse of women. Pray He supernaturally removes the perversion of the hearts and minds of people. Pray He imparts to them purity and respect for all humankind (The Bible, Psalm 119:9).
* Names have been changedMay 2013 Edition of the Win 10/40 Reporter.
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