Speech-impaired woman gang-raped in Warangal district

  • Abducted when she was out to answer nature’s call
  • Villagers found her seriously injured
  • Condition of the woman continues to be serious

Warangal, December 11: It has happened before. It is happening now. And despite the various laws in place and leaders and activists continuously trying in bring in change, rape and sexual exploitation of women continue to plague the country. Safety remains a big question.

Yet another incident has seen light in Ayinavolu village, Vardannapeta Mandal in Warangal district where a mute woman was abducted early in the morning when she was going out to answer nature’s call, and gang-raped. The villagers who found her in serious condition admitted her in Warangal’s MGM hospital. Doctors who are attending her say her condition remains critical.

For one the fact that the woman is mute and cannot even shout for help hardly seemed to have mattered, instead was considered a matter of convenience for the rapists. Despite the woman’s pleas to be left alone, they repeatedly raped her and left her grievously injured. Looking at her plight the villagers were so appalled that they now demand death sentence for the offenders.

Assaulting women when they go out to defecate in the open is one of the most common occurrences in rural India so much so that building toilets is directly related to ensuring safety for women. While building toilets in rural homes is a matter of sanitation and is a necessity for the entire family; in the absence of toilets, women are forced to go out to defecate in the open and are usually subjected to teasing and mockery. To avoid men who make fun of them, they usually choose to go out early in the mornings or after it is dark in the night. That leaves them as easy prey for rapists.

Dasra, a philanthropic organization in Pune, India, published an extensive study in 2012 titled “Squatting Rights: Access to Toilets in Urban India.” This study reported that approximately 30% of women from the underprivileged sections of Indian society experience violent sexual assaults every year because lack of sanitation facilities forces them to go long distances to find secluded spots or public facilities to meet their bodily needs. And the condition has not improved over the years.

Further sexual offences on disabled women are quite rampant and though the new laws have introduced reforms to ensure better access to legal system for the disabled, the mechanism to protect these women who are vulnerable be it in the confines of their homes or outside, remains elusive.

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