India’s Women on the March

Sometimes countries take a mighty leap forward, forcing everyone else to take notice. On one critical issue – sexual harassment and rape – India has moved far into the lead, as the country's women push back in radical, innovative, and transformational ways.

CHENNAI – Sometimes countries suddenly take a mighty leap forward, forcing everyone else to take notice. On one critical issue – sexual harassment and rape – India has moved far into the lead. Following a number of brutal rapes that became notorious worldwide, Indian women are pushing back in radical, innovative, and transformational ways.

The attacks have been ceaseless and indiscriminate. A 51-year-old Danish tourist and an 18-year-old German aid worker are among the most recent non-Indians to be raped. But so is the coverage of them by India’s media. On January 14, The Weekreported on the case of Suzette Jordan, a 39-year-old Anglo-Indian mother of two in Kolkata, who survived what has become a numbingly familiar story. In 2012, she had a drink in a bar and agreed to a ride home with a man she had met; when she entered the car, four other men piled in. They put a gun in her mouth, beat her savagely, raped her, and dumped her on the roadside.

Her reporting of the crime brought new recriminations: the member of Parliament for her constituency, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, called the rape “a deal gone wrong”; another minister called her experience “a concocted story.” But Jordan fought on, and a trial is underway; she has also started a group to support rape survivors.

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