Domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment “widespread” in India

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Photo: UNICEF India/2013/Romana

Domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment are widespread in India, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo, who has called on the Indian government to address the causes and consequences of violence against women.

Speaking at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms Manjoo said that violence against women and girls is strongly linked to their social and economic situation.

"Domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment are widespread, and perpetuated in the family, in public spaces, and in the workplace. Many women live in family settings with deeply entrenched norms of patriarchy and cultural practices linked to notions of male superiority and female inferiority. The lack of effective remedies; the economic dependence of many women; and the social realities of exclusion and marginalization when speaking out; often results in women accepting violence as part of their reality."

Speaking for India, Vishnuvardhan Reddy, said that the country has introduced policies and programmes to improve the status of women and to protect them from violence and discrimination but that there is still much to do.

"India is committed to the elimination of violence against women. We recognise that there are enormous challenges that we have to overcome. The government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance and has resolved to strengthen the criminal justice system for its effective implementation."

Public anger over violence against women in India has intensified since the gang-rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi in 2012.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'33"

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