An exhibition was organized to reflect on crimes against women and sexual violence in South Asia
The Roja Muthiah Library in Chennai is now hosting an exhibition called “Create, Collaborate, Catalyse: Reflections on Sexual Violence in South Asia” that intends to examine the systemic causes of sexual violence against women in four South Asian nations where the crimes against women are high.
The exhibition, which includes pieces by women from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, was organized by the Hri Institute for South Asian Research and Exchange and was co-curated by Ujen Norbu Gurung of the Tulikaa Kalaa online art platform in Kathmandu. Film South Asia will show movies related to sexual offenses as a part of the exhibition up until November 13.
There is a clear regional theme running through every exhibit. According to Laxmi Murthy, director of the Hri Institute, the concept goes beyond only representing the SAARC nations to explore the issues that we share as a community in this area. The exhibition’s opening discussion, Addressing Sexual Violence of women in South Asia: Breaking the Stereotypes, was moderated by Ms. Murthy.
Women in South Asia are frequently the targets of violence in because they are viewed as possessions. Ownership must be established, and violence is frequently used to accomplish this. Vaishnav Roy, the editor of Frontline, discussed how sexual violence has a propensity to become normalized in the Indian news media’s reporting and response to it. Despite the astounding figures, crimes against women don’t receive enough attention as a result of this normalization. Additionally, mainstream media often segments its coverage of sexual violence, choosing just certain stories to cover.
In addition to emphasizing the value of context setting and adopting better language, Ms. Roy noted that the victim of sexual offenses is almost always shown to be ashamed in accompanying images, while the offender of the sexual violence is never shown to be ashamed. A significant portion of our job must start here, she continued.
What is the Problem?
South Asia has a high rate of sexual violence against women and girls. Numerous survivors of sexual violence continue to be effectively denied justice due to protection gaps in rape legislation and obstacles to accessing the legal system. In addition to gender-based discrimination, survivors of sexual offenses from socially excluded populations suffer unique obstacles to attaining justice based on their caste, tribal, ethnic, or religious identities.
For instance, Dalit women in India have overlapping obstacles to justice. A culture of violence, silence and impunity was found to be perpetuating caste-based sexual crimes against women and preventing Dalit survivors from accessing justice, according to a report titled Justice Denied: Sexual Violence & Intersectional Discrimination – Barriers to Accessing Justice for Dalit Women and Girls in Haryana, India, co-authored with Swabhiman Society.
What are the Legal Provisions Concerning Sexual Assault in South Asia?
In a study titled Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors that was co-authored with Dignity Alliance International, it was discovered that rape laws in the six South Asian nations under study effectively deny justice to victims of sexual violence because of protection gaps in the laws, particularly, restricted definitions of sexual violence.
Failure to make marital rape a crime in all cases. Of the six nations, only Bhutan and Nepal make marital rape a crime under all circumstances. In addition to the legal inadequacies, the criminal justice system also has significant access hurdles and implementation problems.
Additionally, sexual and street harassment, stigmatization of menstruation and lack of access to hygiene products, dowry-related violence, forced marriage, online harassment and cyber violence, marital rape, and a lack of access to justice and survivor-centered support systems are all forms of violence against women in the South Asia region. To put an end to this and completely abolish the suffering of women, tough regulations must be enforced.