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When Schools Are Unsafe Places for Girls, Can We Talk Education?

October 8, 2014

Prime Minister Modi recently told a nationwide gathering of students, that he intends to make the education of girls a priority for India.  He said his government has put into place many measures to ensure education for all girls, such as building toilets for girls. There are states in India where half the schools don’t have toilets, and this issue certainly needs attention.

RIGHT TO EDUCATIONHowever, The 50 Million Missing Campaign believes that one of the most critical issues that needs to be urgently addressed, is the escalation of incidents of rape and violence on girls while they are in school or while they are on their way to or going home from school.

Schools are now increasingly seen as unsafe places for girls in India.  This is one of the major reasons many families in rural and slum areas are unwilling to send their girls to school, and often marry them off early.  In fact  reports of sexual assault on girls are also becoming increasingly prevalent in private schools in towns and cities, where parents spend a lot of money sending their children to school.  Astonishingly even these private schools protect the criminals and also refuse to take responsibility for the safety of their students.  Recently parents in the city of Bangalore went on a rampage because private schools there, taking advantage of the shortage of schools, tried to force parents to sign a release form saying they would not hold the schools responsible for sexual assault on their children while they were in school!


CLICK HERE to read about the Suryanelli case, one of the most high profile and brutal gang rape cases in India, where a school girl was kidnapped and pimped by her school bus driver, and then held hostage and gangraped by 42 men in 40 days. Recently in the city of Kolkata, when students gathered to protest the University’s lack of action against a gang sexual assault on a female student on campus, the Vice-Chancellor called in the police who then physically and sexually assaulted 16 of the protesting female students. Click here. The Vice Chancellor then informed them, that that was the appropriate response to their “indiscipline.”

Below are only a few select news reports that came to our campaign’s notice over the last one year in India.

School Girl Kidnapped, Moved Place to Place and Gang Raped for 2 Days (Maharashtra) CLICK HERE

School for Blind Tries to Hush Rape of Student by Staff by Paying off Parents (West Bengal) CLICK HERE

Teacher Gang Raped in Classroom (Rajasthan) CLICK HERE

School Bus driver and attendant rape 11-year-old (Maharashtra) CLICK HERE

11 year old school girl raped and killed (Maharashtra) CLICK HERE

14-yr-old Abducted and Gang Raped on Her Way to School (Agra) CLICK HERE

17-yr-old school girl gunned down by man who had been stalking her for months (West Bengal) CLICK HERE

School bus driver and attendant gang rape a 4-year-old student inside the bus (Maharashtra) CLICK HERE

21-yr-old college student raped and set on fire by her boyfriend (U.P.) CLICK HERE

6-Year-Old Gang Raped by Teaching Staff in a private school; School Refuses to Take Responsibility (Karnataka) CLICK HERE

A 9 year old school girl was kidnapped and raped by an auto-rickshaw driver (Delhi): click here

A 3-year-old Kindergarten Girl Sexually Assaulted in School (West Bengal) CLICK HERE

A nursery student is raped on the premises of an exclusive, private school after being lured with candies by a female staffer (Lucknow) click here CLICK HERE

A School Teacher and Law Graduate Murders For Dowry (New Delhi) CLICK HERE

Attempted Rape and Murder of Medical Intern while on Duty in Hospital  (Assam) CLICK HERE

Class 6 student gang-raped and set on fire by rapists, identifies her rapists before her death (West Bengal) CLICK HERE

College student is gang raped by two of her classmates (Lucknow) CLICK HERE

Girls abducted from school hostel by armed men and gang raped (Jharkhand) CLICK HERE

Pharmacy Student Gang Raped by her classmates and Burnt to Death (Madhya Pradesh) CLICK HERE

School Girl Gang Raped by her Boyfriend and his Friends (Bihar) CLICK HERE

School Headmaster in Tamil Nadu Set His Wife on Fire for Dowry (Tamil Nadu) CLICK HERE

Teenage Rape Victim Attempst Suicide After her Rapist School Teacher gets Bail! (Goa) CLICK HERE

Tribal School Girl Raped By The Headmaster (Orissa) CLICK HERE

India Gang Rape_Kand cro_0

India’s Surrogacy Industry and The Gendercide of Women: A Discussion on How They Are Connected

August 28, 2014

Today India is one of the top most destinations in the world for couples and individuals seeking a surrogate womb.  Does this actually benefit poor Indian women as many in the surrogacy business argue or is this a deeply misogynist trend in India?  And what is the connection between surrogacy and India’s female genocide (gendercide)?  Roxanne Metzger, The 50 Million Missing Campaign’s French Coordinator, discusses these issues with the campaign founder Rita Banerji.  This interview was originally published in French on To read that version click here

Roxanne: Was surrogacy a common practise in India before it was legalised?

Rita: Historically there isn’t much to indicate it was a common practice in India. This is because of India’s obsession with “purity” of caste and clan, and the mistaken assumption of its connection to human blood.

Roxanne: I also meant, that in recent years, before surrogacy was medically legalized in India, was it being illegally practiced in hospitals and clinics?

surrogates indiaRita: I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Often when the medical lobby pushes to open the “markets” on a technique or procedure, it means they are already practicing it, and simply need the legal go signal to exploit it freely on a large, commercial scale. That’s also what happened with the abortion laws in India. The push for the legalization of abortion in India, in 1971, came not from the feminist movement but the doctor’s lobby. The law is sexist and patronizing, and does not affirm a woman’s right over her own body, because a woman can have an abortion in India only if a doctor determines that there is a medical reason for her to do so . Soon as the law came into force doctors were freely advertising for families to come abort their daughters. There were huge public hoardings saying things like – “Get rid of your daughter now for Rs. 500, and save Rs 50,000 later.” Their ‘medical’ justification was Read more…

Analyzing the Public Outrage at the Delhi Bus Rape Inspired Fashion Shoot

August 11, 2014

Raj Shetye’s fashion photo shoot (see below), which appears to be motivated by the brutal 2012 gang rape and assault on a woman on a Delhi bus, has angered many in India and around the world.

click hereIn an interview with The Voice of the Cape (South Africa), the 50 Million Missing founder, Rita Banerji explains why she is not surprised by Shetye’s project. However Rita also says, it is equally important to analyze the public rage and question what it really represents. She observes that rape seems to touch a public nerve in India in a way that no other form of lethal violence on women or girls does, and goes on to discuss why this is because it’s still seen through a prism that views women as sexual resources owned by men. Synopsis below [To hear the full 15 min. interview click on the box above].

Read more…

Endless Ghostly Sisters, You the 50 Million

July 30, 2014

anubhav gaurav2

by Hannah Spruce

Endless ghostly sisters, you the 50 million
who never existed. Missing    or    erased.
You, the womb rejected never had a voice.
At birth umbilical coils, snake-like
around your neck and mothers hands soft to him, strangle you. Read more…

I Don’t Want “Ladies First,” But What’s With These Men?

July 23, 2014

woman washes mans feet

by Rita Banerji

It irritates me when a man fawningly says “Ladies First!” I find it condescending. As a woman I see myself as perfectly able as any man and see no reason for being singled out that way.

Yet, by the same token I hugely resent the “Men First!” approach that I encounter everywhere in India. While walking on pavements, driving, inside homes, and even in offices. It’s that attitude that says, men are entitled to shove women aside and be served first.

It happened again at the bank yesterday and left me fuming. I had accompanied my mother to the bank and she needed some cash deposited. There was a long queue at the counter, so I told her to sit down and I’d stand in line and do it for her. A man came and stood behind me, and then suddenly moved in front and stood next to me, very close. I knew his intention was to make me uncomfortable enough so I’d step back and he’d move in front of me, or to thrust his deposit slip in front when my turn came. I’ve seen men take this liberty with women too many times. It’s like an aggressive, non-verbal statement of male entitlement. I told him Read more…

Does Goddess Worship in India Have a Feminist Underpinning?

July 17, 2014


Does the worship of goddesses in India have a feminist under-pinning?  This is one of the questions I was looking at while researching for my book Sex and Power.

The answer to my question I found, was both ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’  I discovered that there were two main streams of religious thought that had completely different origins and were diametrically opposite in how they viewed women, feminine sexuality and power.  One of them, based in the tradition of the Vedas, was extremely patriarchal in its leanings, and even though it had goddesses, like Sarawati for instance, it regarded them as passive, inert manifestations whose sole aim was to nurture and sustain the men.

The other stream of religious thought was that of the Shaktas. These were worshippers of ‘Shakti’ which is the female personification of power as a concept.   Below is an excerpt from Sex and Power on…

View original 498 more words

Lack of Toilets Doesn’t Cause Rape

July 9, 2014
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Originally posted on Price Of Silence:

Numerous articles have chronicled the lack of proper sanitation in the weeks following the gang-rapes and lynching of two girls in Uttar Pradesh. NPR’s Julie McCarthy in the United States penned,”How A Lack Of Toilets Puts India’s Women At Risk Of Assault.” In the article McCarthy relays the sentiment Guddo Devi, the cousin of the two girls murdered in Uttar Pradesh: “When we step out of the house we are scared,” Devi says. “And we have to go in the mornings, in the evenings, and when we cannot stop ourselves, at times we go in the afternoons as well. … And there are no bathrooms. We don’t have any kind of facility. We have to go out.”

In another version of this article published in India’s Deccan Herald, reporter Nilanjana S Roy notes that having a toilet, “affects women’s ability to work, their safety (many rapes in slums and rural…

View original 844 more words


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