Target: Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Goal: Demand comprehensive action from the Indian government to address the country’s rape crisis
Beyond fueling widespread protests within India, the nation’s rape crisis has now pushed the United Kingdom, France and Canada to advise citizens traveling abroad to exercise caution. In 2012 roughly 24,000 sexual assaults occurred in India, and since then many brutal and highly publicized cases have awakened the world to the seriousness of this epidemic.
It is not surprising that the vast majority of sexual assault victims are female, as the widespread oppression of women continues to put them at especially high risk of violence. Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, director of research for the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, summed up the situation by saying that “once large sections of Indian society accept that women are there to service men, that men are justified in hitting their wives, then pervasive gender violence comes as no great surprise.”
Most rapists are never punished, as crimes are frequently overlooked by police. A committee led by Justice Verma, former head of the Indian Supreme Court, has called on the government to enact numerous changes. From redefining rape and the way survivors are examined, to reforms in law enforcement, education and legislation, much must be done to ensure the safety of India’s citizens. Demand that India’s Prime Minister act immediately to end the country’s rape crisis.
Dear Prime Minister Singh,
The governments of France, Canada and the United Kingdom have recently warned their citizens to exercise caution when traveling to India. Impact on tourism is, sadly, by no means the most damaging consequence of India’s current rape epidemic. In 2012 some 24,000 people were sexually assaulted in your nation, the vast majority of them Indian women. This is an emergency demanding your immediate and dedicated attention.
When Justice Verma’s committee on the crisis reported back in 2013, its findings were clear. Punishing a few high-profile criminals cannot solve the problem. Rather, numerous reforms in law enforcement, education, and legislation are needed. Without such depth of commitment, the women of India will continue to live in fear of sexual violence–and this is simply unacceptable.
Speak out to your people on this terrible epidemic. Urge your citizens to stand up for women’s rights, and to work with you to create a safer future for all the people of India. Tell the world in no uncertain terms that rape and other forms of sexual violence will not be tolerated, nor the systematic oppression of women which is largely to blame for these attacks. Commit to ending India’s rape crisis, without delay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nilroy via Wikimedia