Why India is sitting on a social time-bomb of violence against women

There are 37 million more men than women in India, and most of them are of marriageable age given the relatively young population. A social time-bomb is now setting off there with terrifying consequences, and until the gang-rape in Dehli a year ago, very little attention was paid to this.

A demonstration in January 2013 in response to the gang-rape in Delhi.

Imagine a world where the proportion of girls being born is so low that large proportions of males just cannot find partners when they come of age. In such a world they are more likely to congregate in gangs for company. In turn, that means they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour: i.e. commit crime, do drugs and engage in violence against women. In gangs, men are more likely to harass women and even commit rape.

But this isn’t some dystopian fantasy – there are 37 million more men than women in India, and most of them are of marriageable age given the relatively young population. A social time-bomb is now setting off there with terrifying consequences.

While researching for my e-book on violence against women in India, earlier this year I came across an extraordinary article on why some brothers living in the same household were sharing a wife rather than marrying separate women.

Let that sink in for a moment. The Times of India reported in 2005 on instances where between two and five brothers living in a house, in rural areas in the state of Punjab, had married the same woman. It was extraordinary not just for what was in it, but for what was left out.

The article – \”Draupadis bloom in rural Punjab\” – cited two reasons for these polyandric arrangements: they prevented the household from splitting into multiple families and therefore dividing the meagre land they owned; men just could not find wives to settle down with. [The women are called \”Draupadis\” in reference to the princess who married five brothers in the Hindu epic The Mahabharata]. Punjabi writer Gurdial Singh told the Times of India: “the small landholdings and skewed sex ratio have abetted the problem.\”

via Why India is sitting on a social time-bomb of violence against women.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/13/slow-change-comes-to-india-a-year-after-delhi-gang-rape-expert-zone/

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