Friday, February 4, 2011

Letter to US leaders to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).

Dear President Obama and Secretary Clinton,
All my life growing up in Bombay, we heard stories of poor women's husbands getting drunk and beating them up regularly. People actually counsel wives to think again when they want to walk out of abusive relationships because the societal stigma of being divorced is far worse than being an abused wife.

The majority of girls, including myself, have been molested one or more times growing up. I remember at least four occasions when men have kissed, or caressed me forcibly. And I am from a progressive upper middle class family. When I traveled by train across town to college, I would throw punches as I walked downstairs to the platform because that is how often I found my buttocks getting pinched or my breast felt. I resorted to using the most crass Hindi swear words so that the men around me would be sufficiently shocked into leaving me alone.

These stories are so commonplace that my girl friends all have their own versions of the same tales. I cringe when I think of the stories that go untold in rural areas where girls aren't empowered to speak for themselves. I urge you to do what you can to help innocent girls and women everywhere who are victimised by silent societies.

- A WAVEr.

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