Rampancy in the cases highlighting girl child abuse in India is peaking and is highly worrisome; sadly, it seems like the nation is at war with its women. Even with strict laws, the number of cases surrounding girl child abuse hasn’t declined.
According to a 2016 report by National Crimes Records Bureau, the rape of minor girls increased by 82% in comparison to 2015, where 95% of rapists were not strangers but family, friends, and neighbours of the victim. It is the bitterest truth to gulp and digest that the children of our nation, especially girls who are our future and our hope, are suffering at the hand of our ignorance. We, as a part of a responsible society, must stand up against these atrocities and pressurize the elected representatives of the nation to take responsibility and tighten the laws regarding girl child abuse.
Girl child abuse starts inoffensively, especially when it occurs within families, where the girl gets lesser precedence over the male child in terms of life, education, property, opportunities, choices, etc. This ‘everyday abuse’ is the product of a culture that bestows all power on men, and that wants women to subsist merely. The unbalanced sex ratio is a testament to this attitude.
The nation is also responsible for the current gender biases that exist.
Haven’t we heard statements like, ‘she was asking for it, she deserved it, look at the clothes she is wearing’, ‘sit properly’, ‘maintain a lady-like behaviour, you’re just a girl, don’t talk to boys, they only want one thing,’ the list is endless!
We as a society support this behaviour, and when a girl child is abused, we don’t even blame ourselves for letting this attitude prevail in our society; unfortunately, the girl is always blamed.
Speech is another fundamental human right, but girls are trained to be silent. They are told to be quiet, to speak softly, to have no or lesser opinions, no arguments, and no conflicts because ‘good girls’ adhere to gender roles construed by a society that heavily depends on the patriarchal system. Silent girl children disappear and are easy to ignore, overrule, and violate without repercussions. Therefore, impunity flourishes. In India, it is this culture that undermines the girls’ desire to systematize a response to the current system that threatens her existence.
It is inevitably our responsibility to banish girl child abuse from our society and our nation. Through various initiatives, we have already begun our efforts to provide a safe space for the girl child to flourish, like the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Dhanalakshmi Scheme, etc. we still need a deepened awareness to prevail amongst people. Save the Children is one such NGO that works towards the betterment of downtrodden children; you too, in your capacity, could reach out to the most vulnerable.
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