The six men accused of gang raping and killing a 23-year-old Indian woman were formally charged last week. The horrific attack has set off dozens of protests in India demanding justice for the victim and changes in attitudes toward women. While the brutality of the crime was shocking, many women’s rights advocates point out that tens of thousands of women and girls are raped every year in India with complete impunity – many victims of violence are too afraid to report their abuse and if they do, their attackers are rarely convicted. In war torn nations around the world – places like Sierra Leone, the Congo, and Syria– violence against women and girls is also rampant and rape is often used as a weapon. Likewise in the aftermath of a natural disaster, sexual violence increases, as we’ve seen in Haiti. This hour we’re examining violence against women, why it happens and what can be done to stop it. We start off our conversation in India with New York Times reporter NIHARIKA MANDHANA, who is based in New Delhi. Then, for a global view of the problem, we turn to LIESL GERNTHOLTZ, director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, and HEIDI LEHMANN, director of the Women’s Protection and Empowerment Unit at the International Rescue Committee.
AP Photo/ Saurabh Das