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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Gainesville’s views on India’s rape cases

Sixty-six times a day. That’s the amount of rape cases reported to the Indian government in 2011. And it’s suspected that thousands go unreported annually due to social stigma.

The Dec. 16 gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi brought media attention and outrage about women’s daily struggles in India. The outcry has hit home at UF, where many reacted to the event.

Daniela Sanchez said people push the story away because they feel powerless, but if people made the situation known, then authorities would take notice.

“It makes me angry … the idea that I am a human being and the only thing that sets me apart from people living and going through this is that I was born in a different place,” said the 19-year-old sociology sophomore.

Sanchez wants to encourage students to become more involved with humanitarian causes on campus, such as UNICEF and International Justice Mission.

Leela Kumaran, a project coordinator for UF’s College of Education who grew up in India, said there needs to be a cultural understanding.

She said her initial reaction was horror, but she wasn’t surprised.

“Women are supposed to be invisible there … this is something that is common,” Kumaran said.

She said it will take a few generations to see significant change for women in India, though she hopes the conversation does not die down.

“It’s misogynistic in many ways, but the problem doesn’t stop at just India,” said 20-year-old UF psychology junior Jasmine Esmailbegui. “America, as well as many other countries, remain dominated by notions of masculinity and unequal treatment of women.”

Kelsey Harclerode expressed her hope that media coverage reignites a global conversation.

“The outrage in the U.S. cannot stop at nations beyond our borders,” said the 21-year-old UF political science and women’s studies junior. “We can simply question why we live in a society that cares more about the length of a woman’s skirt than justice for a rape victim.”

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