December 24, 2012 | Violence Against Women

Fear Strikes Out: Solving India’s Problem of Violence Against Women

By Rebecca Webber

The recent, brutal gang rape of a young woman in Delhi stunned the world and set off huge, furious protests. But the attack shouldn’t have come as a surprise. India is the worst place to be a woman among the G20 countries, says one poll. Another survey, from Reuters, says India is the fourth most dangerous country in the entire world for women, behind Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan—and ahead of Somalia.

While India continues to be rocked by demonstrations against the country’s lax treatment of rapists, many people there and abroad are speaking out for practical solutions. UN Women has issued a statement saying, “This attack is an attack against all women in India…We call on the government of India to do everything in (its) power to take up radical reforms…to make women’s lives more safe and secure.” Local groups have been working for years on India’s problem of violence against women. To learn more about their efforts, and to lend your help, visit the sites below.

UN Women
In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Its global work to improve women’s lives includes campaigns against violence against women.

Jagori means "awaken, women!" A partner of UN Women, India-based Jagori has a mission to inform, inspire and empower. “Our endeavour is to reach out to women in increasingly innovative ways.”

Must Bol
Manak Matiyanim is a young activist who runs the “Must Bol” campaign that encourages young people to work against gender-based violence.

Lawyers Collective
This New Dehli nonprofit was created to provide expert legal assistance to the underprivileged, especially women and children and other members of marginalized groups.

Say No – Unite to End Violence Against Women
Say NO – Unite to End Violence against Women is a social mobilization platform on ending violence against women and girls. Launched in November 2009 by UN Women, Say NO – UNiTE showcases advocacy efforts and engages people from all walks of life, online and on the ground. UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman is the Spokesperson of Say NO – UNiTE. 

Swayam, a Kolkata based organization, was set up to provide a holistic support service to women facing violence in their lives. Swayam's strength is their empowering, woman-centred approach, which looks beyond a woman’s immediate need for support and encourages her to become self-confident, self-sufficient and self-reliant. They do this through their Support Centre and Public Education and Awareness Generation Programme.

Men Against Violenve and Abuse is the first men's organization in India directly intervening against gender-based violence on women. Established in 1993, MAVA is working towards building a movement that explores the role of men as ‘partners’ and ‘stakeholders’ – addressing gender issues (including women’s empowerment) through cultural advocacy, direct intervention and youth education initiatives.