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Join The War on Dowry on Facebook

The 50 Million Missing Campaign ( which is fighting female genocide in India lists Dowry Murders as one of the key forms of female homicide in India. Other issues we are dealing with are female feticide and female infanticide.

Currently in India, EVERY 20 MINUTES 1 YOUNG MARRIED WOMAN gets murdered for dowry. In a year more than 25000 young women are murdered this way. Most of these murders are gang-lynchings where the husband and his family, after extorting money from the bride's family, kill her, when their continuing demands are not met any more.

The methods of killing are many. In many cases the girls are doused with kerosene and set on fire. Or they force fed poison or acid. Or they are hanged.

Thousand of young women who survive these attempted murders live physically and psychologically scarred for life.

Dowry murders occur among all strata of society.

Here are two of the cases the 50 Million Missing Campaign has worked with.

One is the case of Roopa, a young woman whose husband and in-laws force fed her acid. Roopa's insides were burnt and she was in urgent need of internal surgery. She was wasting away and would die soon if she didn't get urgent medical help. The 50MM is a volunteer campaign and we don't have any funds. We liaise with other ngos and institutions to get victims the legal, medical, or other help they need. In Roopa's case no organization, not even the big international ones with big money were willing to take her on. So 50MM opened a direct fund for her family and raised the money in less than a week for her to get her surgery. Roopa lived. She even met with Gloria Steinem who was so impressed she took her autograph. Here's her case link:

The other case is that of Anshu Singh. She was a young, highly educated woman who was working in a Multinational Company. She got killed within 45 of her wedding. It is an indicator that even education and economic independence don't seem to mitigate dowry murders. Here's her case link:

In its fight against female genocide in India, the 50MM has marked DOWRY as its STRATEGIC TARGET. Read more about this "War" and join us on Facebook here


Carri Pence's picture

These stories are horrific,

These stories are horrific, making me not only sad inside but angry. the neglect that women go through due to their communities traditional ties with dowry is not only alarming but appalling. Not only do women become abused but dowry is setting a precedent where women are seen as profit and not as humans. Furthermore, it makes the family want a son, creating a resentment for having a daughter. May dowry be unlawful and argued against not only here on PulseWire but on a local, national, regional, and international community as well. How do the conversations in India take place about dowry?

Sad and disheartened,
Carri Pence

Rita Banerji's picture

There is no anger

That is the problem Carri -- there is no anger. Or sadness. Dowry has been illegal for a long time now -- but it is a law that is not implemented. There is also a special law for dowry related murders. And this is what I disagree with. The law refers to these murders as "dowry deaths" and says something like "if a woman dies of dowry death" -- like it was disease! A term we never use in the campaign. But for there to be socially induced change the public needs to see that this is not a social issue (I think healthcare, education, housing, these are social issues). But dowry and the violence that ensues from it on women is a human rights issue. And given its scale it is a global human rights issue. That is what we are pushing it as. We think that there need to be international monitoring/ or at least accountability of the proper implementation of the existent laws.

Rita Banerji

jadefrank's picture


Dear Rita,

As Carri said, reading the stories of dowry violence on women is horrific... but also so important to hear. Their stories need to be told so that people worldwide fully understand the implications of "violence against women" and exactly what that means and looks like for women like Anshu, Roopa, and the other millions of women who face such abuse.

The work that you're doing is so urgent and you're a compassionate, visionary who is taking the GBV in India into your own hands to support and empower women to take their lives back.

We have so much to learn from them, from you and how we can work together to end this.

In solidarity,

hi Jade,

One of the reasons we opened discussion/ help links for specific cases on our flickr site was because we realized that it would also give other women and their families the incentive to speak up. One of the biggest problems in India is that it is a country that is hugely invested in the concept of traditon and family -- and secrecy. So even a dowry murder is considered the "shame" of the victim's family -- and often families just keep quiet about it. In many cases if the police bring the case to court, the victim's family makes an arrangement with the husband and in-laws, and they become hostile witnesses in court, so the case falls through. What we have to do is first address the stigma and shame, and the tradition of secrecy. Only then can we have change. And that is what we hope that bringing out these stories will do.

Rita Banerji

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