Saturday, May 31, 2014

The root causes of brutal crimes against women in India and Pakistan



Nasir Khan,  May 31, 2014

How can such crimes be prevented? It seems there are no easy answers. On the one hand there is much adoration and lip-service to traditions and family-values in tradition-bound Indian and Pakistani societies. On the other hand in such tradition-bound patriarchal societies, the status of women is one of inequality and subordination. Women have no option than to obey the commands of their male family-members and comply with their wishes.  
 
There exists a vicious circle of traditions and misguided use of old religious edicts to oppress and misuse women. No doubt, to seek retribution and show our emotional outrage are our justified responses to such events as has happened in India in this case and also in Pakistan recently when a young girl was battered to death by her relatives in the name of ‘family honour’ to justify such an abominable barbaric killing. 
 
  But the question remains: Can we improve the condition of women in traditional societies without pointing to the sources of oppression? In the name of old traditions every year thousands of women are genitally mutilated, many are killed in the name of ‘family honour’ and countless millions suffer physical torture and oppression. That means the sources that lie in old traditions and the misuse of religious teachings should be publicly discussed by the media. Here comes the role of the enlightened members of society who understand the problem and who can use their knowledge and skills to devise strategies that can help us to spread the message amongst the people and help us fight against these social ills.

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Two Teenage Girls Gang Raped, Murdered, and Left Hanging from Tree in Latest Gruesome Sexual Assault in India

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Protestors rally after five-year-old girl was allegedly raped, tortured and kept in captivity for 40 hours in April 2013.
REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India’s deeply troubling problem of sexual violence towards women sunk to a new, gruesome low on Wednesday. Two teenage sisters in rural northern India were abducted from fields near their home and gang raped before being strangled by their attackers and then left hanging by nooses from a mango tree. “The girls, who were 14 and 15, had gone into the fields because there was no toilet in their home,” the Associated Press reports.

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