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Kamala Sarup: Rape Increases, Where Is The Law?

Rapes Are Increasing. Where Is The Law?

By Kamala Sarup

Three young Afghan women were found raped, hanged and dumped on a roadside in Afaganistan. The bodies of the women were found in Baghlan province, 120 miles north of Kabul, and officials and doctors said they had been raped and hanged.

In India, 2003 there were 471 reported rape cases, and the police filed charge sheets in 398 of the cases, while 12 were classified as untraced.

A woman, Kaneez Kubra, was gang-raped with the consent of her in-laws by three people on her wedding night in Dera Ghazi Khan to exact revenge against her brother.

A Samra, (serial child rapist) struck for the 10th time on May 20 when he kidnapped and raped a 9-year-old girl in the Alam Chowk. On May 21, Sabzi Mandi Police claimed to have arrested the rapist, Ikram alias Karamu, after he kidnapped Aqsa and took her to a vacant house where he raped her.

Puja comes from a Nepali village in Kathmandu. When she was 14 years old she was raped by her father's friend in the village. Her family did not support her. She suffered. At present in Nepal, men found guilty of rape face prison sentences of 6-10 years for rape of girls below 14 years of age, and 3-5 years for girls and women over 14 years old.

Sstill, authorities largely failed to investigate most women's complaints of rape and abuse. There is an obvious connection between the occurrence of rape in society and the dramatization and deception of it in the media. The flood of publications and debate of the possible socially damaging effects of the dissemination of violence is of unbroken concern.

This is a good news that last week the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), was introduced in the U.S.Senate for reauthorization. VAWA 2005 includes the Sexual Assault Services Act (SASA) which would provide funding for direct services for sexual assault victims, including 24-hour emergency and support services.

Rape is one of the major women's issues. It is certain that unless the male supremacy in every sphere of the society and the subordinate position of women are changed, we can not end rape against women. Along with the problem of women also has to face the problem of rehabilitating the women who were raped. Rape is the most common form of violence. A culture of silence in reporting sexual violence due to such factors as lack of confidence in law enforcement and the fear of stigmatization.

So, women's security is the first priority of women. For true freedom, women's security is essential. Without women's security, no women can be free. Only with security women can we win the restoration of women's rights. There are no precise estimates, official or non-official, of the number of women raped. Yet not much is being written about their response to their rights. Still there are currently more legal provisions that directly discriminate against women, strictly limiting their rights. But the important question is how to engage women and promote their participation? One of the potential answers would be to promote women's advocacy/lobbying and massive campaigns at local level.

Thausends of women have been raped. Can governments provide enough security and good protection for women?

In no society today women enjoy the same opportunities as men. Women equality does not depend on the income level of the country. Equality is a political commitment. Equality with men in a male-dominated culture and society alone is not enough. This means that the principle of women's rights should be established between women and men at home, and in the wider national and international communities. Equality between women and men is a matter of women's rights and a condition for social justice and is also a necessary and fundamental prerequisite for equality, development.


(Kamala Sarup is an editor of )

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