Over the past year, I have worked hard to build awareness and share the stories with my readers on some of the biggest social issues in the world. I have written about global health, poverty, education, safe water and sanitation, human rights, and most of all, how all of these issues have especially impacted women and girls in the developing world.
One topic that is near and dear to my heart is violence against women and girls. It is absolutely horrifying that in today’s world women and girls are being physically and sexually abused on a daily basis. Sadly, it happens everywhere. Yet violence against women and girls is even a greater problem in countries of poverty where the status of women is often so incredibly marginalized that women and girls have little or no say in the matter.
Traveling last May to India brought the issue of violence against women and girls to the forefront. I had just arrived after the horrendous rape and killing of a young Indian girl on a moving bus. The country was still in an uproar over the event and justice against these young men who took her life is still being sought. Today, I read the surprising news that these men have been convicted of the highest penalty possible: The death penalty and perhaps marked a change in the way law fighting these atrocities will be handled.
Yet has anything really truly changed for the millions of women around the world who are faced with violence, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, neglect and unworthiness every single day of their lives? Not much. There are laws in India against physical and sexual abuse but seldom are they enforced.