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Dalit Women Speak Out (Caste, Class and Gender Violence in India)
Dalit Women Speak Out (Caste, Class and Gender Violence in India)
Description

About the Book

 

The right to equality regardless of gender and caste is a fundamental right in India. However, the Indian government has acknowledged that institutional forces arraigned against the right are powerful and shape people’s mindsets to accept pervasi gender and caste inequality. This is no more apparent then when one visits Dalit women living in their caste-segregated localities. Vulnerably positioned at the bottom of India’s gender, caste and class hierarchies, Dalit women experience the outcome of severely imbalanced social, economic and political power equations in terms of endemic caste-class-gender discrimination and violence.

 

The study presents an analytical overview of the complexities of systemic violence that Dalit women face through an analysis of 500 Dalit women’s narratives across four states. Excerpts of these narratives are utilized to illustrate the wider trends and patterns of different manifestations of violence against Dalit women. The study calls for the implementation of comprehensive preventive and punishment measures to eradicate caste-c1assgender discrimination and violence against Dalit women in both public and private lite, in conjunction with measures to fulfil their human rights.

 

About the Author

 

Alosius Irudayam S.J. is the Programme Director of the Research Advocacy and Human Rights Education Department in the Institute of Development. Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS).

 

Jayshree P. Mangubhai has been working as Research and human Rights Associate in the Institute of Development. Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS).

 

A Note from the Authors

 

This book presents an analytical overview of the complexities of systemic violence that Dalit women face in India today through qualitative and quantitative data analysis of 500 Dalit women’s narratives of violence across four states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. Excerpts of these women’s narratives are utilized to illustrate the wider trends and patterns of different forms and manifestations of violence against Dalit women within both the general community and the family, from state and non-state actors of different genders, castes, and socio-economic groupings, occurring between 1999 and 2004. Examination of the divergent world-views of the victim-survivors and perpetrators reveal the causal factors for conflict and violence, as well as the various rights being denied to Dalit women in the course of violence. Alongside analysis of Dalit women’s vulnerability to violence, their assertions, courage, and resilience to survive violence and struggle for justice are considered. Finally, an examination of the responses of state and non-state actors o this violence exposes the culture of impunity that currently prevails in the context of violence against Dalit women. The women’s voices are necessarily filtered through the authors, and yet as far as possible care has been taken to allow the women to engage with the reader as freely and naturally as possible in order to communicate a genuine and natural understanding of their reality.

 

This book contains a condensed version of Volume I: Study Report, which was published along with Volume II: Case Narratives (Detailed), and Volume III: Case Narratives by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), National Federation of Dalit Women (NFDW) and Institute of Development Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS) in November 2006.

 

Why focus on violence against Dalit women in particular, some people might ask? Is violence not ubiquitous among all women, irrespective of caste? Is not the violence faced by Dalit women exactly the same as that faced by any other woman in India today? Violence against women in India in general is structured by relationships of power embedded in systemic caste, class, and gender discrimination. What is specific to Dalit women, however, is their socio-economic positioning at the bottom of the caste, class, and gender hierarchies, resulting in social exclusion. Intersecting caste-class-gender systemic factors entail greater vulnerability to coercive violence utilized to maintain caste norms or caste-based gender norms vis-a-vis Dalit women, as well as to retaliatory violence in response to Dalit women’s assertions of their rights by defying caste and ‘untouchability’ norms or asserting their rights to cultural, economic, and political resources. Besides, dominant discourses of Dalit women’s sexual availability, their criminal nature, and their inherent inequality with other women and men serve to legitimize and exacerbate violence against them. It is for these reasons that this advocacy-research study focuses solely on Dalit women, in order to highlight their specific reality of violence, which functions to constrain their agency and voice, and to subjugate both them and, through them, their communities.

 

While much of the perpetrators’ language of verbal abuse included in this book falls well beyond that which is generally deemed acceptable in civil discourse, the objectionable language has been included after serious deliberations with Dalit women and men activists from across India. The study team’s dilemma over whether to include this hateful, degrading language or not in print, even while it is integral to the Dalit women’s narratives of experienced violence, recognized the objections that might be raised by sections of the Dalit community in particular, and by civil society at large:

 

This dilemma was, however, resolved after a consultation held on 1 June 2006 in New Delhi with the following persons: Vimal Thorat, convenor, NCDHR Campaign on Violence against Dalit Women; Urmila Bahan, secretary, NCDHR Women’s Desk; Manjula Pradeep, director, Navsarjan Trust; Sudha Varghese, director, Nari Gunjan:

 

Jyotsna Macwan, co-convenor, NCDHR; Jhansi Geddam, co-convenor, NCDHR; Manas Jena, eo-convenor, NCDHR; Annie Namala, consultant, Dalit Women’s Study; Paul Divakar, convenor, NCDHR; and Vincent Manoharan, general secretary, NCDHR. In a separate meeting, Ruth Manorama, convenor, NFDW, also endorsed the decision arrived at in the consultation. At the New Delhi consultation it was unanimously agreed that the verbal abuse be presented in full, un-edited, in order to accurately convey the force and character of verbal violence experienced by Dalit women. It was also agreed that this form of violence, hitherto shrouded from public view, must be exposed, and the silence surrounding this subject deliberately broken.

 

Throughout the book, the names of the victims-survivors, family members, perpetrators, villages, towns, and state and non-state actors approached for remedies, have all been changed in order to protect each woman’s identity and ensure her personal security following the sharing of her experiences of violence. Only the names of the states and districts remain unchanged.

 

As a further note, while the authors have occasionally been obliged to utilize such terms such as ‘low’ or ‘lower’ caste, ‘higher’ or ‘upper’ caste, ‘polluted’, ‘untouchable’, ideology of women’s ‘honour’, etc., in order to distance ourselves from the ideology that underpins these terms, the terms have been placed within quotes when they first appear in each chapter. Thereafter they appear in the chapter without inverted commas.

 

This study is aimed at national and international advocacy work on Dalit women’s rights in general, and specifically: to highlight the manifold violations of their rights through violence that permeates their lives under the caste-based patriarchal social system in India; and to hold the Indian state accountable for the dearth of data on Dalit women as well as to expose its failure to check systemic violence against them. Bringing this information to the fore, we believe, will provide Dalit, women’s, and human rights movements and organizations across India and abroad with concrete documentary evidence to strengthen their lobbying and campaign work: that is, pressurizing and influencing responsible state agencies and civil society into taking

 

Contents

 

 

Acknowledgments

ix

 

Abbreviations

xv

 

A Note from the Authors

xvii

 

Introduction

1

1

Conceptual Framework

46

2

Profile of Dalit Women

71

3

The Social Context

79

4

 Forms and Frequency of Violence: An Overview

94

5

 Verbal Abuse

103

6

Physical Assault

140

7

 Sexual Violence

176

8

 Kidnapping, Abduction and Forced Incarceration

211

9

Medical Negligence

235

10

Female Foeticide and Infanticide, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

252

11

Causal Factors for Violence

304

12

Dalit Women’s-Courage and Resilience

337

13

 Effects of Violence on Dalit Women

348

14

 Responses to Violence against Dalit Women

372

15

Concluding Observations

427

 

Bibliography

436

 

Glossary

443

 

Dalit Women Speak Out (Caste, Class and Gender Violence in India)

Item Code:
NAH322
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2011
Publisher:
ISBN:
9788189884697
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages:
476
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 650 gms
Price:
$45.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

The right to equality regardless of gender and caste is a fundamental right in India. However, the Indian government has acknowledged that institutional forces arraigned against the right are powerful and shape people’s mindsets to accept pervasi gender and caste inequality. This is no more apparent then when one visits Dalit women living in their caste-segregated localities. Vulnerably positioned at the bottom of India’s gender, caste and class hierarchies, Dalit women experience the outcome of severely imbalanced social, economic and political power equations in terms of endemic caste-class-gender discrimination and violence.

 

The study presents an analytical overview of the complexities of systemic violence that Dalit women face through an analysis of 500 Dalit women’s narratives across four states. Excerpts of these narratives are utilized to illustrate the wider trends and patterns of different manifestations of violence against Dalit women. The study calls for the implementation of comprehensive preventive and punishment measures to eradicate caste-c1assgender discrimination and violence against Dalit women in both public and private lite, in conjunction with measures to fulfil their human rights.

 

About the Author

 

Alosius Irudayam S.J. is the Programme Director of the Research Advocacy and Human Rights Education Department in the Institute of Development. Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS).

 

Jayshree P. Mangubhai has been working as Research and human Rights Associate in the Institute of Development. Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS).

 

A Note from the Authors

 

This book presents an analytical overview of the complexities of systemic violence that Dalit women face in India today through qualitative and quantitative data analysis of 500 Dalit women’s narratives of violence across four states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. Excerpts of these women’s narratives are utilized to illustrate the wider trends and patterns of different forms and manifestations of violence against Dalit women within both the general community and the family, from state and non-state actors of different genders, castes, and socio-economic groupings, occurring between 1999 and 2004. Examination of the divergent world-views of the victim-survivors and perpetrators reveal the causal factors for conflict and violence, as well as the various rights being denied to Dalit women in the course of violence. Alongside analysis of Dalit women’s vulnerability to violence, their assertions, courage, and resilience to survive violence and struggle for justice are considered. Finally, an examination of the responses of state and non-state actors o this violence exposes the culture of impunity that currently prevails in the context of violence against Dalit women. The women’s voices are necessarily filtered through the authors, and yet as far as possible care has been taken to allow the women to engage with the reader as freely and naturally as possible in order to communicate a genuine and natural understanding of their reality.

 

This book contains a condensed version of Volume I: Study Report, which was published along with Volume II: Case Narratives (Detailed), and Volume III: Case Narratives by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), National Federation of Dalit Women (NFDW) and Institute of Development Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS) in November 2006.

 

Why focus on violence against Dalit women in particular, some people might ask? Is violence not ubiquitous among all women, irrespective of caste? Is not the violence faced by Dalit women exactly the same as that faced by any other woman in India today? Violence against women in India in general is structured by relationships of power embedded in systemic caste, class, and gender discrimination. What is specific to Dalit women, however, is their socio-economic positioning at the bottom of the caste, class, and gender hierarchies, resulting in social exclusion. Intersecting caste-class-gender systemic factors entail greater vulnerability to coercive violence utilized to maintain caste norms or caste-based gender norms vis-a-vis Dalit women, as well as to retaliatory violence in response to Dalit women’s assertions of their rights by defying caste and ‘untouchability’ norms or asserting their rights to cultural, economic, and political resources. Besides, dominant discourses of Dalit women’s sexual availability, their criminal nature, and their inherent inequality with other women and men serve to legitimize and exacerbate violence against them. It is for these reasons that this advocacy-research study focuses solely on Dalit women, in order to highlight their specific reality of violence, which functions to constrain their agency and voice, and to subjugate both them and, through them, their communities.

 

While much of the perpetrators’ language of verbal abuse included in this book falls well beyond that which is generally deemed acceptable in civil discourse, the objectionable language has been included after serious deliberations with Dalit women and men activists from across India. The study team’s dilemma over whether to include this hateful, degrading language or not in print, even while it is integral to the Dalit women’s narratives of experienced violence, recognized the objections that might be raised by sections of the Dalit community in particular, and by civil society at large:

 

This dilemma was, however, resolved after a consultation held on 1 June 2006 in New Delhi with the following persons: Vimal Thorat, convenor, NCDHR Campaign on Violence against Dalit Women; Urmila Bahan, secretary, NCDHR Women’s Desk; Manjula Pradeep, director, Navsarjan Trust; Sudha Varghese, director, Nari Gunjan:

 

Jyotsna Macwan, co-convenor, NCDHR; Jhansi Geddam, co-convenor, NCDHR; Manas Jena, eo-convenor, NCDHR; Annie Namala, consultant, Dalit Women’s Study; Paul Divakar, convenor, NCDHR; and Vincent Manoharan, general secretary, NCDHR. In a separate meeting, Ruth Manorama, convenor, NFDW, also endorsed the decision arrived at in the consultation. At the New Delhi consultation it was unanimously agreed that the verbal abuse be presented in full, un-edited, in order to accurately convey the force and character of verbal violence experienced by Dalit women. It was also agreed that this form of violence, hitherto shrouded from public view, must be exposed, and the silence surrounding this subject deliberately broken.

 

Throughout the book, the names of the victims-survivors, family members, perpetrators, villages, towns, and state and non-state actors approached for remedies, have all been changed in order to protect each woman’s identity and ensure her personal security following the sharing of her experiences of violence. Only the names of the states and districts remain unchanged.

 

As a further note, while the authors have occasionally been obliged to utilize such terms such as ‘low’ or ‘lower’ caste, ‘higher’ or ‘upper’ caste, ‘polluted’, ‘untouchable’, ideology of women’s ‘honour’, etc., in order to distance ourselves from the ideology that underpins these terms, the terms have been placed within quotes when they first appear in each chapter. Thereafter they appear in the chapter without inverted commas.

 

This study is aimed at national and international advocacy work on Dalit women’s rights in general, and specifically: to highlight the manifold violations of their rights through violence that permeates their lives under the caste-based patriarchal social system in India; and to hold the Indian state accountable for the dearth of data on Dalit women as well as to expose its failure to check systemic violence against them. Bringing this information to the fore, we believe, will provide Dalit, women’s, and human rights movements and organizations across India and abroad with concrete documentary evidence to strengthen their lobbying and campaign work: that is, pressurizing and influencing responsible state agencies and civil society into taking

 

Contents

 

 

Acknowledgments

ix

 

Abbreviations

xv

 

A Note from the Authors

xvii

 

Introduction

1

1

Conceptual Framework

46

2

Profile of Dalit Women

71

3

The Social Context

79

4

 Forms and Frequency of Violence: An Overview

94

5

 Verbal Abuse

103

6

Physical Assault

140

7

 Sexual Violence

176

8

 Kidnapping, Abduction and Forced Incarceration

211

9

Medical Negligence

235

10

Female Foeticide and Infanticide, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

252

11

Causal Factors for Violence

304

12

Dalit Women’s-Courage and Resilience

337

13

 Effects of Violence on Dalit Women

348

14

 Responses to Violence against Dalit Women

372

15

Concluding Observations

427

 

Bibliography

436

 

Glossary

443

 

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