On 16th Dec 2012, a 23 year old medical student was raped and beaten until she had organ failure and brain damage. She died on 29th Dec from her injuries, sparking outcry and protests in India.
But this unnamed woman is not the only one. India recently won the dubious title of the worst G20 country to be a woman in (http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/13/g20-women-idINDEE85C00420120613). This is due to female infanticide, gender selective abortion (often forced on women), domestic abuse, child marriage, dowry violence, rape, sexual abuse and the legal system's poor treatment of victims. Female victims are often blamed for what happens to them – for wearing the wrong thing, going to the wrong place, hanging around with the wrong people. Perpetrators are often let off with warnings. This is despite the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 which outlaws all kinds of violence against women.
* In the last 3 generations, 50 MILLION WOMEN have gone missing from India's population statistics (http://genderbytes.wordpress.com/about/).
* 44.5% of girls are married before 18 (International Centre for Research on Women 2009).
* 52% of women think it’s justifiable for a man to beat his wife (Unicef 2012).
The UK Government recently forged stronger business links with the growing Indian economy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10784317) and it is thought that Cameron will visit India again this year.
The UK Government should use their position to urge Indian leaders to change. Change laws, change culture, change education. Let the death of this 23 year old woman not be in vain. Change is long overdue. The UK Government should not be silent on this issue while forging business links with India. This makes them as culpable.
“When our grandchildren ask us where we were when the voiceless and the vulnerable of our era needed leaders of compassion and purpose, I hope we can say that we showed up, and that we showed up on time.” – Gary Haugen, IJM President & CEO