Wednesday, April 16, 2014

INDIA ALLOWS A THIRD GENDER BUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN CONTINUES

Big news for advocates of transgender rights.

The world's second most populous country will now consider transgender people  a third gender, along with male and female

A Supreme Court ruling stated yesterday that "Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights."

Transgendered people, must be granted access to social programs offering career, educational, and health care support. "All documents will now have a third category marked 'transgender.' 

Some 3 million people in India identify as transgender.

There are still a few hurdles to be overcome in the country where  the same rights are not enjoyed by gay, lesbian, and bisexual citizens

While scrutiny of sexual violence in the country has grown, violence against women continues to be an epidemic. Harsh new anti-rape laws have been introduced in an attempt to send a loud and clear message to a society that has been slow to change. Just a few months ago a 20-year-old was reportedly gang raped by 13 men on the order of village elders. She was accused of breaking tribal rules by having an affair with a man from a different tribe.
  
Until recently women were accorded the role of the inferior sex and prized possession of man. More than 50% of females above age 15 in India cannot even read and write.

Sexual harassment is a daily problem for women in India. Wider social change with a focus on ending all discrimination has been the goal of social activists in the emerging power for generations. India has a history of satyagraha and non-violent protests, but in recent years young people have been reluctant to participate in social activism because of the fear of economic ramifications of having a criminal record.

 A CNN report illustrates the extent of the “acceptability” of sexual assault in the country.  Numerous Indian state and national lawmakers are facing rape and other charges against women. The report states that over the last five years, Indian political parties have nominated nearly 300 people facing similar charges.

Zero tolerance would be nice.


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