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The Endless Killings Of Girl Children

“India Shining”: isn’t that what the governing bodies and diplomats are fancifully calling the country’s progress to modernization in the present decade? Ironic that in the face of such economic progression, the mindset of many Indians have actually denigrated further than it ever was. At a time when education has reached larger masses than before, attempting to inculcate right values and questioning of accepted norms and stereotypes, yet the message hasn’t reached across everybody. Stories of gender discrimination and exploitation in the vilest forms still fill up numerous columns of our newspaper. And they are reflective of a dark, grim reality of our society.

Very recently channels and newspapers were flooded with the story of Baby Falak, a battered 2 year old baby who was admitted to the AIIMS hospital, with human bite marks all over her body, broken arms and a partially smashed head. All these injuries are speculated to be inflicted upon her by the anti-social people in whose hands she has been passing through since her birth. Though this little baby succumbed to her injuries, it opens up the much-debated issue of gender discrimination by mirroring the neglect, torture and biasing that a girl-child faces.

Another case of a 3 month old baby, namely Neha Afreen was found brutally injured in Bangalore on the 10th April, with teeth bite marks on her neck, and suffering an internal brain haemorrhage. She was allegedly battered by her father, Umar Farooq, 37, accused of trying to kill her thrice, all because he wanted a son. More recently, a total of 14 female babies were dumped in public places in Bangalore. It reveals the monstrosity of those who do not care to value their own children, and fail to see beyond the lines of gender. The heinous and cruel treatment afflicted to innocent children, with no mistake of theirs to be born to people with such a negative thinking and attitude towards women, is not only a crime against these children, but a crime against humanity, against nature.

Gender has always been a problematic issue in our patriarchal, misogynist society, where gender roles are pre-determined and accepted unquestionably by all as the normative. When a baby is born in a household, be it villages or cities, the question of whether it is a boy or a girl precedes over everything else. It becomes a huge issue, and most annoyingly, puts a lot of pressure on the parents, many of whom conduct illegal gender determination tests to find out whether they would have a cause to celebrate ( boy-child) or a reason to feel wronged by God( girl-child). The entire social structure is based on the purview of viewing the boy as the upholder and the heir to the family, who would probably marry bringing in a lot of dowry to the family, and the girl whose “burden” the father has to bear till she is married off with large sums of money. It doesn’t see girls capable enough of achieving anything, whose education would mean nothing, who would ultimately be married, and who would not be carrying forward the family name.

Such notions, ridiculous and narrow, if one may call it, are actually the germs behind the numerous incidents of female feticide, female infanticide, domestic violence, rapes, murders of women, sexual abuse and exploitation. India has one of the highest female infant mortality rates in the world. Unchecked illegal sex selection abortions have led to a skewed sex ratio – 112 boys are born for every 100 girls in India, against the natural sex ratio at birth of 105 boys for every 100 girls. Women are merely seen as sexual objects, to be eternally servile to the men, and expected to silently accept every kind of treatment that suits the men. Because women have to bear all kinds of suffering, brutality and injustice, the birth of a girl-child is seen as a bad omen. Even if they are not killed while still in the womb of their mother, the life which is granted to them is worse than the experience of death.

The story of Baby Falak and Afreen are few of the cases which could come out in the media, and bring across the seeped in gender prejudices of the people. These incidents suggest that the attempts to promote gender equality through awareness and education have yet to cover long miles. There is an urgent need to bring a change in the thinking and understanding of the people. ‘Save girl child’ and ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ are baby steps towards the elaborate process of bringing about a change in the way a girl child is perceived. There is a need for rigid laws to persecute the practitioners of such terrible inhuman acts.

But that is not all. What one needs to address here are some basic question. Why in a country, which is developing, where more than 50% people are getting access to education and media, does gender bias exists? In an age where one sees women reaching the skies, entering into every kind of profession, competing with men on an equal platform ( if that is granted to them) , why does another side exist, wherein women are not even granted life, let alone freedom ? Why after centuries of exploitation, women are still enduring the torment, and allowing themselves to be available at the disposal of men? Why did Afreen’s mother continue living with a man who has attempted three times to violently murder their baby daughter? These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves and the society we inhabit. The solution is right in front of us. But to traverse the road towards that solution is difficult, long, challenging. We need to face this challenge in every possible way we can, and deal with the darkest side of ‘India Shining’.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

EK. Chemorion's picture

Too sad........................!

Thank you Sharontina for sharing the agony of girl children, and women in your society. it is very sad to hear that even past the 21st century, old practices are still alive. one is left to question the influence culture has on socialization, and how this has been carried over from generation to generation...! I totally agree with you in the action line you suggest...societal shining can not be measured unholistically, it has to address all the issues...and the issue you raised about torture of girl children is no minor issue. it is worth addressing ..now. it is urgent and i stand in solidarity with girl children in community....I empathize with mothers with daughters.....I stand in solidarity with you on this.
wishing you courage as you take this important task.

EK Chemorion

Sharontina's picture

Yes, Society has to take action

Yes Dear Chemorion,

Thanks for that comment. It is so sad the mothers themselves, once who were young girl children too are in to these cruel and brutal acts most of them forced to do this mercilessly against their own blood. Very few come out in the media and the rest of them remain a daily happening unnoticed.

From my side what i can contribute as an activist is educate the girl children right from schools and create an awareness of reality and how they can change the society. So they may not do this to their child in the future and fight for it. I have been conducting such awareness programs and youth campaigns to educate the girls on this. I visit the schools here talk to the teachers and staff and that has brought some positive response to begin with in my town.

Thanks.

Merlin Sharontina

EK. Chemorion's picture

Good Move...!In solidarity

Dear Sharontina,

I salute you for the attempts you are making to make sure information is shared in the right fora and to the right people.

I am sure that the girls will leave institutions of learning differently, and any future decision they'll make will be from an informed background. one thing that still needs to be countered in the patriarchal structures of 21st century and beyond....just to use your words....you wonder how.... mothers themselves who were once young girl children too are partisan to the cruel activities ...forced mercilessly against their own blood!! this bothers me as well.

But I sit here in a patriarchal society and wonder if you could target young mothers.....

mothers who could as well help in socialization of children differently...in a way that can dignify girl children in homes...and society.

I firmly believe that a multifaceted approach you are taking will increase positive results and in the long run, eliminate violence against girl children in your society. it is not in vain dear. society action now, means a safe future for our daughters.

kudos to you for a good job you are doing dear!

EK Chemorion

Sharontina's picture

Yes,Society has to take action

Yes Dear Chemorion,

Thanks for that comment. It is so sad the mothers themselves, once who were young girl children too are in to these cruel and brutal acts most of them forced to do this mercilessly against their own blood. Very few come out in the media and the rest of them remain a daily happening unnoticed.

From my side what i can contribute as an activist is educate the girl children right from schools and create an awareness of reality and how they can change the society. So they may not do this to their child in the future and fight for it. I have been conducting such awareness programs and youth campaigns to educate the girls on this. I visit the schools here talk to the teachers and staff and that has brought some positive response to begin with in my town.

Thanks.

Merlin Sharontina

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Always true!

Hello sister,

Thanks for articulating all the burning issues concerning women and girls in India, some of which exist elsewhere too. Let's continue highlighting and fighting these challenges and support those who are facing or trying to alleviate them.

Warmth,
Pushpa

Sharontina's picture

Thanks

Thanks dear for stopping by. Lets join together and make it happen.
Will be always there.
Love.

Merlin Sharontina

Sharontina's picture

Thanks

Thanks dear for stopping by. Lets join together and make it happen.
Will be always there.
Love.

Merlin Sharontina

ddegarm's picture

You are an inspiration.

Dear Sharontina,

Sometimes I asked myself why this kind of treatment still exists around the world. The answer is too obvious and maybe that is why I am always shocked by these stories. As women of the world it seems incumbent upon us to make this information known through all of our various outlets. We need to help spread your voices so that more people can learn about your plight. The major challenge I see is that these brutal circumstances are very real for females around the world, even in the United States. The difference is that you are very willing to share your story whereas domestic violence seems to be swept under the carpet here. I will share your story and the story of this innocent baby to help women know that they are not alone and need to stand up with the support of other women to end discrimination and violence against women everywhere.

“Women have a special capacity to lead us to a more peaceful world with compassion, affection and kindness. And there is no more important time for that than this moment.” - Dalai Lama

Sharontina's picture

Thats wonderful

Its so encouraging to hear from you. When friends like you come forward to spread the word from one end of the world to the other the target achieved is faster, efficient and more precise. First of all, the silence of hundreds of victims of these daily crimes has to come to an end. And for that thousands of powerful voices have to raise shouting - "we are here" - not just for the sake of being but to drive the world towards a change - a change of this moment.

Thanks again for sharing the burden. Keep in touch.

Hugs.

Merlin Sharontina

Sandra Nassali's picture

What a sad story!! The

What a sad story!! The examples shared show how women suffer day in day out. And how one would hurt an innocent child all in the name of wealth beats my understanding. Where in this world is it written that women are a curse? Society and its damn biases. This shows how much is required of us as women activists to continue advocating and pushing for the woman's cause. For me, it looks like the struggle is just beginning.

Cheers

Sandra

Sharontina's picture

Its not the beginning!

Dear Sandra,

No, its almost the end of the struggle. I wish each day will bring a ray of hope and goodwill for our children, for the generation lying ahead. Working for the cause will always continue. To fight the darkness, don't take the sword, just light a candle, and see the rest is take care of.

Regards.

Merlin Sharontina

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