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Posts Tagged ‘female foeticide’

Why We Won’t Stop Buying Brides

The practice of bride buying is closely tied to many patriarchal conditions of sex selective abortions, dowry and gender discrimination. Are we ready to break all the moulds to really want to put an end to this?

A simple Google search on ‘bride buying India’ gives you a mix of results that indicate the human rights violating practice of bride buying in Northwestern states of India, matrimonial sites as well as links to designer bridal sarees and jewelry. This dichotomy itself explains a lot about how tradition and patriarchy are intertwined with the booming economy in our so-called modern Indian society.

The practice of bride buying is not very recluse from the society today. We know that it’s a vicious cycle and relationship between the gender bias within patriarchy and poverty in our country, although patriarchy does not have a stronger root or causality in poverty. Most of us know the stories and modus operandi to how it happens. The archaic system of patriarchy that propagate heavy dowries to be incurred for daughters’ marriages and desire for a long lineage, even to maintain the caste purity in the line, leads to a strong preference for the male child. Female babies are either killed in the foetus or killed or thrown in the garbage shortly after their birth. This issue was vehemently taken up and investigated from all angles in the launch episode of the social issues show, Satyameva Jayate, hosted by popular actor, Aamir Khan.

Decades of families and communities killing the girl child has resulted in an entire demographic of young girls and women missing in many villages in the Northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, which are some of the most key places. Hence, in sexual frustration and desperation and of course, the fear of their family being wiped out of the face of existence (which is what they attempted to save in the first place), they look for brides from poorer states on the Eastern parts of India. This time: caste, religion, ethnicity, color and even age, no bar.

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Daughters Are Precious: Female Foeticide. Large-scale killing of girls before birth has led to a serious gender imbalance in the Indian population, and severe social problems as a result.

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I agree that it’s the mindset of the people that must change. Banning sex determination ultrasounds will in all likelihood increase the incidence of female infanticide. However, doctors who continue to perform them need to be charged.

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Man kills pregnant wife who refused to abort girl child

Even as we rue about the lowest ever child sex ratio of 914, revealed by the 2011 Census figures, we have dismally failed to bring about a change in the mindset of a section of the population which sees the girl child as a burden and ruthlessly resorts to indiscriminate violence against women.

In a shocking incident, a man in Kurnool town of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday beat his pregnant wife to death for carrying a female foetus for the third consecutive time.

According to Kurnool Police, C. Prakash, a private firm employee residing in the Shankar Mutt area of the town, mercilessly beat his wife Surekha (26) after going through her ultra-sound report which revealed she was carrying a girl child.

Surekha, who was in her sixth month of pregnancy, could not withstand the beating and fell unconscious. Her parents immediately took her to the local government hospital, where she was declared brought dead.

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Her dream was to go to school, to have the freedom to study and learn. But to alleviate her mother’s financial burden of care taking both her and her brother, nineteen year old Neetu agreed to get married instead.

It was her mother’s friend who made the introduction to the 20-year old suitor. They had only met for about 20 minutes, and because she was not happy about the arrangement, Neetu stood with her back to him as they spoke. She didn’t see him again until the day of the wedding. Admitting she liked the way he looked, she did not feel they were a suitable match. Being married to him, she said, was a compromise.

The daughter of a single mother, Neetu never met her father. After a drunken rage in which he tried to kill her and her brother, her mom left the marriage.

When I met Neetu, she had been married for seven months. Matrimonial bangles graced the arms she kept demurely wrapped around herself. During our conversation, her sister-in-law sat by her side, impeding Neetu’s ability to freely speak. It was only when she was asked to go to the kitchen and make tea that Neetu was able to reveal her concerns.

Though no dowry was given, gifts were presented to her husband’s family at the time of marriage. As is sometimes the case, after a few months, her new family started to indirectly speak of material goods they did not have, but wanted. Neetu felt is was only a matter of time before their demands started. Not wanting to worry her mom, she didn’t talk with her about it.

Her desire to continue her studies was out of the question with her new responsibility to take care of her husband’s family; an additional concern for her. There was a visible sadness and a longing in Neetu. She was stuck in her life circumstances.

Maybe that is why – from the bed she shared with her husband – she doused herself with kerosene and struck a match. The news of it came in an e-mail shortly after I had left India, several months after our meeting. Our mutual friend and interpreter wrote to tell me that Neetu was unhappy with her husband because he had a problem with alcohol. So she set herself on fire. In her critical condition and without the four lakh rupees needed for treatment, she and her five month old fetus died.

Because fire is a common form of assault against women in India, incidents that are deemed accidents or suicide are looked upon with suspicion. Women do sometimes take their own lives, however. Sometimes as a way to escape their fate, or to alleviate their families of the burden of a dowry demand. But other times the in-law family fabricates a story around their crime, calling it a kitchen accident, or self-immolation.

With the concerns that Neetu wanted to speak with me about, I also had my suspicions. Her death leaves a haunting hollowness in me.

My intention of collecting stories from women who have endured the systemic degradation, oppression and violence for being born female, is to celebrate those who have made a triumphant exodus from their circumstances. To highlight their liberation as a testament for other women, to show them that it is possible. Neetu’s story is a grim reminder that sometimes women only find liberation in death.

I am humbly grateful to Neetu, and all the daughters of India who have graciously welcomed me into their lives with the courage to share their stories with the world. Through the telling and retelling of their stories, and the demand for the safety, freedom, and equality for women everywhere, one day soon we will be free, to be female.

barbara raisbeck

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Undesired
by Walter Astrada

Click on image to go to video

India is a diverse country, separated by class and ethnicity. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy. No woman is exempt.

This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden. As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.

The numbers are staggering. Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are ‘missing,’ by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N., aborted solely because they are girls. One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes. Countless others are never known.

The government has tried to intervene. Dowry and sex selective abortions are illegal. Yet both practices still thrive, in large part because of deep-rooted cultural prejudices.

Today, eighty percent of Indian states are now facing a shortage of women. To compensate for this differential, young, unknowing women are bought from surrounding countries like Bangladesh and sold to young bachelors. Not knowing a word of the language, these trafficked women now face the same kinds of violence as other Indian women.

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The Petals In The Dust team is organizing the Walk for India’s Missing Girls, a protest march against female infanticide and feticide in India that will take place on March 6 in San Francisco, part of an international effort to end the killing of baby girls in India.

Marches are also scheduled for Delhi, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Dublin, Melbourne, Ontario and in Kuwait.

-In the last century, 50 Million girls have been killed, either before or after they were born.

-In some regions of India, the female to male ratio is as low as 500 to 1000..

– Even in 2010, females are still considered a burden by many families

Why are these horrific crimes against women being ignored? Where is the public outcry? Where is the media attention?

Come join us in this global Walk on March 6, 2010, two days before International Women’s Day and help us let the world know about this Gender Holocaust, so we can work together to save India’s girls.

We hope to make this walk an international and annual event till female foeticide and infanticide is erradicated.

Details of Walk in the different cities

San Francisco
Date: 6 March 2010
Time : 11AM
Location : Starts in front of the the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate park.
Ends at the Indian Embassy, 540 Arguello Boulevard, San Francisco

Mumbai
Fight-Back is organizing a walk in Mumbai on Date:March, 6. 2010.
Time: 11AM
Location : Starts at Nariman Point and ends at Nirmala Niketan College, Churchgate.

Delhi
Date: March 6
Time: 9:30AM
Location: Starts at the India Gate and ends at Jantar Mantar in Connaught Place.

Jamshedpur
Date: 7th March 2010
Time: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Starts at Golmuri Welfare Centre (attached to the Roman Catholic Cathedral and Bishop’s House ) and will return to Golmuri Center for discussions on female foeticide, infanticide, trafficking and domestic violence.

Kuwait
Date: March 6 2010
Time: 5PM
Kuwait Church, Rear Exit (Grotto Gate)
Saturday, March 6 at 5:00pm

Dublin
Date: March 6 2010
Time: 11AM
Location: Starts at St. John the Baptist Church, Clontarf Rd, Dublin 3 and ends at the Bull Wall.

Pondicherry
Date: March 6 2010
Time: 10:30AM
Location: Starts at Pondicherry University & ends at Auroville

Ontario
Location, Time TBD

Come join the Walk for India’s Missing Girls – be a Voice for the women of India.

This will be a silent march but feel free to bring signs that will create awareness of female foeticide and infanticide in India and support the victims . Please spread the word to your friends and to anyone who would support this cause – invite them to be fans of this page. The larger the turnout at the walk the more awareness we can create about India’s female genocide.

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