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You Should Know About This: Child Abuse In India

It’s easy to forget we live in a global world. Most of us live relatively simple lives. We wake up, have our coffee, run to work/school and then around five or six o’clock we begin our slow march home where we can finally take off our shoes (aka bras) sit back and relax. But for most of the world such is not the case. It may be strange to ponder, but you are much closer to the one percent than you may think. Your basic needs are met daily. Food, water and shelter, check. And most days you enjoy the benefits of a first-world living, which the majority of the human population can only dream of. You drive to work, eat what you want, drink clean water, watch television, surf the internet and at the end of the day sleep safely in bed that is yours alone.

We forget we are the lucky ones, especially when everything in our culture is telling us the opposite. You are not lucky and you are by no means enough. You need more— buy more, do more, eat more— the cycle is never-ending. And what’s more, it’s damaging. If you believe you are not enough, you are essentially trapped, tangled up in yourself. How can I think about others when there’s so much of me left to fix? This is why it is absolutely essential we remain grateful for everything we have. The reality is you are blessed, you are enough, and in realizing this you are given the greatest gift of all, the ability to look outside of yourself and help others.

Right now a worldwide crisis is happening, one which goes unreported everyday in favor of an endless stream of celebrity gossip. Girls around the world are being kidnapped, raped, abused, sold into sexual slavery, denied food, education and the chance to live a happy life simply because they are girls. In most of the world having two x-chromosomes means an automatic lower quality of life. Why even in our own country women continue to struggle against the age old battle of sexism and inequality. We are not immune to the evils of this world simply because our GDP is larger than most. In America, we still suffer the horrors rape and sexual abuse, and yet there is a marked difference between our rights and those living in the third-world, we are given a voice. Though in our country there remains a stigma around the women and men brave enough to report the abuses which they have suffered— an unjustified blaming of the victim for the evils that have befallen them— at least it can be said they have a voice, or an opportunity to have one.

In an 82-page report released on February 7th, 2013 by the Human Rights Watch, a startling truth was revealed. Children in India are being sexually abused by relatives, friends and trusted acquaintances and with absolutely no path to justice or resolution.

“… Current government responses are falling short, both in protecting children from sexual abuse and treating victims. Many children are effectively mistreated a second time by traumatic medical examinations and by police and other authorities who do not want to hear or believe their accounts. Government efforts to tackle the problem, including new legislation to protect children from sexual abuse, will also fail unless protection mechanisms are properly implemented and the justice system reformed to ensure that abuse is reported and fully prosecuted, Human Rights Watch said.” –New York Times

In essence, the children of India are left to fend for themselves when it comes to rape and sexual abuse. Those brave enough to attempt to report abuse are often met with the cruelest of responses.

“In one case, a 12-year-old girl who reported to the police that she was raped by a man from a politically connected family was locked in jail for almost two weeks, the report found. The police insisted that she change her story, it said.” –New York Times

Can you imagine living in a country where you were held for prison in two weeks, without being allowed to contact your parents, because someone raped you. Though unimaginable, this is the reality for so many of the world’s women and children. So what must we do? How can we help, knowing there are those in the world who do not have the power to help themselves? There are three things you can do in your everyday life to bring change to those who seem worlds away: educate, participate and advocate.

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  • Ramla Hussain

    This article brings up so many important points. We live in a culture in which we are encouraged to be so self-centered with our non-existing problems (of not having enough material things) that we forget about those who are facing problems related to life and death.

  • Hans Johan Svensson

    India has a long way to go.
    It is nearly impossible for poor people to fend for themselves when there is´nt even door that they can lock at night. How many Indians are there where is no sensus or records to tell that poor people even exist.
    The cast system is supposed to be illeegal but is still in use.

  • Jennifer Evans

    Half the Sky changed the way I actively think about many issues. I have become a Community Ambassador for the Half the Sky movement. For many people, it is too easy to look the other way because the topic is too difficult. I believe it is necessary to realize that our global sisters are suffering. They laugh the same way we do. They cry the same way we do. They have dreams, just like us… but they have incredible, incredible roadblocks in their way to realizing them. Speak up; share; advocate. You may end up helping to change lives of people you will never meet, but really need you. (BTW the Half the Sky documentary is being replayed on PBS stations in the next month or so; look up your local listings to learn more)

  • Jackie Hellen

    In this blog article, you discuss child abuse in India, predominantly on girls, who often are left without options of justice when faced with sexual or physical abuse. You suggest three solutions to bridge the gap between the 1% (us) and those Indian girls: 1) educate, 2) participate, 3) advocate. This is an EXTREMELY complex issue that will require a significant amount of in country public outcry, advocacy, and behavior change communication from Indian nationals. You simplify an issue that has been going on FOREVER, ignoring major current events in India, and fail to identify organizations that can help interested individuals really get involved (the girl effect, pathfinder international, global giving, etc). While I appreciate your interest, it bothers me that you think you are actually inspiring by suggesting solutions that will do ABSOLUTELY nothing for the girls of India (like telling your Republican congresswoman would really make a difference?!). If you really want to do something to push others to donate or get involved, especially through social media, you need to follow the efforts of those who have been successful in igniting fervor under the bellies of our otherwise ignorant, self-obssessed, perpetually busy population (e.g. Invisible Children). Make more of an effort to do your research and don’t waste my time with your suggestions/attempted guilt trip.

    • Kaylee Acres

      Your comment degrading this article isn’t helping anything. Did you watch the video? Did you click the links in this article? The author spends an entire page (I don’t know the specifics of Hellogiggles’ article guidelines, but I’m sure that space is limited) just bringing the issue to light. I knew that there was a problem, but you can use me as an example of someone who didn’t know the specifics or depth of the issue before reading this article. The author not only posts an informative video on the subject, but provides links to more information and a network of 200 nonprofits. You have got to start somewhere. I applaud the author for bringing this subject to light for myself and others, sparking our interest to learn more and do something to help.

  • Gracie Padilla

    Here is another informative link if others would like more detail regarding human trafficking around the world. Rankings indicate whether or not the country’s government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, has made efforts to address the problem, and if that country meets the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards each year. Knowledge is power!

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