This is a repost of an article written by Naga R Dhoopati last spring. Given that today is the UN International Day of the Girl Child, I felt it worthwhile to repost it in the hope that the educational message will spread further and wider, bringing a swifter end to atrocities committed against girls around the world.
Educating girls around the globe.
There have been many cases where a girl’s life has become a burden to her parents, especially in India. Femicide is one practice used to reduce the population of girls.
Giving and taking a dowry is still practiced in India in many forms, though there are laws against it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowry
Domestic violence is so high among Asian women because culturally, women are more submissive. The recent rape case has forced India to question itself and the culture. You can find videos on it, plenty of blogs to read and organizations trying to change the system. In my experience, many women in domestic violence situations go back to their relations/ spouse.
Here are a few reasons from my point of view.
a. They have seen domestic violence in the culture while growing up and think that it is normal.
b. They cannot support themselves and their children financially.
c. Most parents cannot afford to help them or take them back.
d. It is not common for a widow, divorced, or raped woman to remarry in most of the cases
e. Indian movies show rape and domestic violence as entertainment. You can find one of those scenes in most movies. The only difference is, in real life, there is no hero to come to the rescue.
The After Effect:
Many of these women end up going back to their abuser, become homeless or turn to prostitution… Or suicide. Despite this, there are still some amazing women who stand strong and try to recreate their life again. I am not saying that the entirety of India is that way, but it happens to so many people. Those are the ones I am talking about. It matters even if it happens to just one.
Next time you are in India in a busy auto stand, and you see women covered with a Burkha (a headcover Muslim women wear) begging for money, know that they may be victims of the sex trade. They may not be really Muslims, the headcover is to hide the girl. There are usually a couple of men and a few women pushing them into the big crowd. I came across them once in Hyderabad, India on my visit. Know that the cops are right next to them doing nothing. Are they getting any shares or benefits in this?
Hyderabad is highly populated by Muslims, and it can aggravate religious fights, if there is disrespect shown to the head cover. That is one reason police can’t really do much. Sex traders take advantage of this aspect and use the cover to hide girls.
Educating girls is one way that can bring change slowly. Education also costs money, which is why many parents choose to send the boy to higher education, thinking he can support the family. Whereas, for the girl, they think her husband will take care of her.
Steps to Take:
- 50millionmissing.wordpress.com is one blog & organization raising awareness of the issue, and there are many more.
- Below is a link to a movie that is made by Richard Robbins on importance of girls education. Please support the cause. http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_bn2#/video/bestoftv/2013/03/06/ctw-malala-girl-rising.cn
- If you would like to push to bring this movie to a theater near you, here is the link to website. www.girlsrising.com
About the author: Naga R Dhoopati
From North Carolina Durham, U.S. I was born and brought up in southern part of India in a small village. I am currently in school for Nutrition, and health coaching. I continue to study different styles of movement. The most fascinating thing for me is LIFE, and the way it unfolds. I enjoy being with my kids and their friends. Most of my time is spent studying to pass tests which is quite boring, but a necessity to move forward in life. In my breaks I read blogs, do yoga, and move for the music, and cook in between.
Goal of Nutrition: Overcome hunger in this world, and not have to witness beggars living on the street.
Photos by Justin Whitaker, Bodh Gaya, fall 2010.