It is hard to believe that even after decades of independence in many parts of India, the birth of a girl child is not welcomed. Discrimination, humiliation, and oppression are not new to a girl born in a village. Her gender plays a big role when it comes to healthcare, education and growth opportunities, she is neglected and asked to make sacrifices every day. Some manage to survive but most, however, surrender hopelessly to the sad fate assigned to them.
Shocking data on violence against children, especially girls, shows a fraction of the real picture:
- In 2012, 9500 children and adolescents were killed in India, representing 10 per cent of all children globally and making India the third largest contributor to child homicide after Nigeria and Brazil (WHO 2014, Global Health Estimates).
- In India, one in three (34 per cent) of adolescent girls (aged 15-19) married or in union have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their husband or partner. Among these, more than one in 10 (13 per cent) have experienced sexual violence by their partner.
- Almost half of girls (45 per cent) and boys (48 per cent) justify wife beating.
- Twelve million adolescent girls – that is almost one in five – have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. In these cases, the most common perpetrator of physical violence for married girls is the husband or partner (33 per cent). For non-married girls the mother or stepmother is the most common abuser (41 per cent), followed by the father or stepfather (18 per cent) and teacher (11 per cent).
- Of girls aged 15-19 years, 2.6 million, or 4.5 per cent, married or unmarried, have experienced forced sexual intercourse or another form of forced sexual act. The majority of girls who experienced forced sexual intercourse – about two-thirds –suffered sexual violence in the ages 15 to 19, although girls did experience sexual violence throughout childhood.
- The most common perpetrator of sexual violence is the husband or partner (77 per cent of girls). Only 3 per cent of girls reported sexual violence by a stranger.
Image Source: UNESCO