Last week, more unthinkable sexual violence rocked India.
Two teen girls were raped and hanged from a tree in caste-sensitive Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state and a key political win for new prime minister, Narendra Modi.
Thus far, Modi, a prolific tweeter, has yet to address the rape and killing of the two cousins, 14 and 15 years old.
Protests erupted nationwide this weekend, calling for repercussions to authorities — who reportedly took more than 12 hours to address the missing reports. Currently, four suspects have been arrested, two of whom are officers themselves, according to the Associated Press.
On Saturday, May 31, activists held posters expressing their demands in New Delhi, which has earned the reputation of the “rape capital” of the world. At that point, police had arrested a third suspect and still hunted for two others.
Women activists, of course, joined the rallies. Above, some hold candles during a peaceful vigil.
As the national outrage gained steam, demonstrations became more intense. Here, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers raise slogans and burn an effigy of Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Then, on June 2, hundreds of women marched on Yadav’s office in Uttar Pradesh, demanding he crack down on the increasing number of rapes. Police broke out water cannons to disperse them.
Some fought back.
The rape and murder of these girls tells an all too common story in India — sexual violence that goes ignored. It’s a hostile culture for women where a top policeman says, “If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it.”
Indian women do face danger at every age. Parents will abort female infants simply because of their gender. During adolescence, they experience rape and assault, and even after marriage, families will commit “bride burning,” also known as dowry death.
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