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Human Rights Friday – India: Violence Against Women

20 Nov

Human Rights Friday – India: Violence Against Women

20151120-hrf

20th November 2015

In the last few years, numerous cases of sexual violence against women happened in India. Some of the victims were raped by man and were even murdered afterwards. Last year, Amnesty International India launched a new campaign – “Ready To Report” with the aim to encourage victims to report their deplorable experiences to police department and to urge police department taking those cases seriously. In December 2015, Amnesty International Hong Kong invited Tara, director of human rights education from AI India, to talk about their work in India and the details of “Ready To Report” [1] campaign.

Cases of sexual violence in India are reported on a regular basis by media outlets. Tara confirmed that sexual violence against women was a serious problem longstanding in India and there has not been much progress in reducing incidents of sexual violence in recent years. In her opinion, the most effective way to tackle this problem was to raise awareness on human rights among women in India: victims need to realize that it is their rights to demand appropriate assistance from police department. To facilitate victims reporting to police department, AI India designed a webpage which consisted of information about the procedures of reporting cases to police department and how to produce First Information Report.

Tara explained that many women in India had never been to police station before and they had no idea how it works in a police station. Many victims were very suspicious of the reporting system. Therefore, AI India set up booths to promote this campaign and designed a virtual-reality experience goggle which simulated the environment and setup of a police station.

Apart from educating victims, “Ready To Report” focused on enhancing police’s ability in properly handling victims of sexual violence. AI India invited some police officers in Bengalore to attend training workshops in handling cases of sexual violence, for instance understanding difficulties victims faced during reporting. Considering the embarrassment female victims might face when reporting to male officers, AI India also called for the police department to ensure at least 1 female officer is stationed in each district station.

Violence against women is a structural problem in India. Indian government and the entire Indian society need to take up the responsibility to protect all women from any kind of violence, especially sexual violence. We hoped that Hong Kong citizens would learn more about issues of sexual violence in India through this event. More importantly, we aimed to stir a deeper reflection on our attitudes towards local victims of sexual violence and on whether Hong Kong police force has been appropriately handling cases of sexual violence against women.

[1] Ready to Report website link: http://www.readytoreport.in/

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