Her; India

By Shaki Srikanth

Shakti Srikanth has been on a three-month internship in Bangalore over the summer.

1 January 2017: Indian women wake up with bruises, not hangovers. Reports emerge of widespread sexual violence in the nation’s Silicon Valley – Bangalore. Women tell of being groped, physically assaulted and fighting off men with their heels. All the while, policemen watch with perverted indifference.

Sadly, incidents such as this are all too common in India. No matter your age or attire, all women are “open season” for men. We no longer feel safe in public spaces. We have been pushed into hiding, as men arrogantly claim the public sphere as their own. In 2011, a book titled Why Loiter? described women’s access to public space in India as “conditional”.

It comes as no surprise then that 90% of females in India experience sexual harassment, or that a sexual crime against a woman is committed every four minutes. Surveys reveal that over 62% of Indian men still believe women provoke them by the way they dress. Meanwhile, their dhotis[1] expose their hairy legs (and their sexism).Families impose curfews on their daughters. Boys and men are not told to simply stop assaulting and molesting us.

In 2012, India revolted after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student. Thousands came together in anti-establishment marches demanding greater protection for women and tougher punishment for perpetrators. Legislative response has been barely effective: the number of reported sexual assaults in India has increased by 39% since 2012. Disturbingly, most forms of marital rape are still legal, even if the victim is a minor.

[1] Traditional men’s garment sometimes tied up above the knee.

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Read more in our Culture Issue, on stands around campus this week. 

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