It never ends, does it? Logged into Indian news today. 5 main page news items had to do with violence  against women: gang rape, sexual harassment, girls being sold to pay off loans, acid attack and suicide,  murder of a young pregnant woman by her inlaws and husband.  Makes me wonder if life for Indian women is always a matter of chance? One is just fortunate one has survived female infanticide, dowry death, gang rape, suicide…one is just lucky to have had education, freedom, basic rights? It’s not like you deserve them, you just get lucky?

More and more news about violence against women is being reported everyday since the Delhi gang rape of Dec. 16, 2012. Some friends feel it’s only just the media paying more attention and more cases being reported now. I somehow feel men are more emboldened. Raping women is becoming a sport men want to play because it is adventurous, risky, challenging? Is it a crises of masculinity?

When we celebrated the dawn of the 21st century and the promises it upheld, I was a college student in Delhi full of hope, full of feminist zeal. During the last decade, it seemed too often that advancements in women’s rights made by the women’s movement is moving towards the negative.  The feminist zeal is intact but not sure the promises of an enlightened 21st century still hold ground…infact the ground beneath our feet is fast disappearing and we struggle to make sense of this war that has  been declared  on the female body and mind with great precision and  sophisticated ideologies and weapons.

How does one fight this relentless  attack on women’s rights and freedom? How does one rethink strategies?  Ideas from readers are invited. I will elaborate on this further but look forward to more ideas about what’s gone wrong and what we can do to right these wrongs in India and beyond. Please feel free to share what you think.

by Swati Parashar


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