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Gender based violence

Coinciding with the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the United Nations in India is committed to joint advocacy initiatives to support the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Unite campaign. As part of the campaign, advocacy activities to raise awareness on gender based violence are organized during the 16 Days of Activism between 25 November and 10 December.

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, reported incidents of crime against women increased 6.4% during 2012, and a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes. In 2012, there were 244,270 reported incidents of crime against women, while in 2011, there were 228,650 reported incidents.
  • Of the women living in India, 7.5% live in West Bengal where 12.7% of the total reported crime against women occurs. Andhra Pradesh is home to 7.3% of India’s female population and accounts for 11.5% of the total reported crimes against women.
  • 65% of Indian men believe women should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together, and women sometimes deserve to be beaten. In January 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) Questionnaire reported that 24% of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some point during their lives.

Gender-based violence in India:

  • Uttar Pradesh (UP) has a population of over 199 million. Socially, UP still has a deeply entrenched caste system with a strong feudal hangover – and these have influenced the politics of the state. A predominantly rural state, agriculture is the mainstay of the state’s economy: 73 per cent of the total work force is in this sector.
  • UP is also amongst the poorest states in the country. Women in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India face extreme marginalization and discrimination. Caught in the mesh of a feudal-patriarchal system, they are not only subject to ritual segregation or ‘purdah’, but their bodies are often the battle grounds for many wars – between communities and clans, over inadequate dowry settlements, or even in the matter of population control. This daily violence takes its toll in the form of death and maiming in many ways and mostly women remain mute, suffering and seeing others suffers.
  • Surveys show that 42 per cent of ever married women have experienced spousal violence (IIPS and Macro International 2007). The National Crime Records Bureau reports that in Uttar Pradesh, 32,546 crimes against women were registered in 2013, this was 10.5 per cent of India’s total. The majority of crimes against women are committed by family members (Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2006).
  • During the last 10 to 15 years, the issue of gender equality has been raised very fervently in place of women’s development. There have also been some changes: while on one hand the need for women’s education is being recognized, the same cannot be said about the control over her property, mobility or sexuality.
  • There is also increasing fear among men about decreasing opportunities and resources as a result of women’s empowerment. There are anxieties among some men of their decreasing control over women, of losing their leadership position, of ‘being left behind in the race’ by women. As a result, men can see gender equality as harmful for their interests. India program reports.
  • The New ‘MASVAW Men’: Strategies, Dynamics and Deepening Engagements. A Case Study of a Networked Approach to Challenging Patriarchy Across Institutions in Uttar Pradesh. Edström, J., Shahrokh, T. and Singh, S.K. (2015).
  • A growing network of men in Uttar Pradesh, India, have built engagement for addressing gender-based violence through Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women, or MASVAW. This case study explores the role of men and boys in addressing sexual and gender-based violence through collective action; a collaboration between the Centre for Health and Social Justice in New Delhi, MASVAW, and the Institute of Development Studies.

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