Before I left Phoenix, some friends came over for an official viewing of “Its a Girl” – a documentary on the plight and fight of females in India and China. I was reminded that I wanted to post a brief review when I saw this in the Times of India earlier this week.
It says, “A Godman and seven members of a 20-year-old pregnant woman’s family were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days in Nashik for allegedly assaulting her after they thought she was carrying a girl child. The foetus did not survive and had to be aborted. The woman alleged that she was kicked and punched in the stomach and also stamped upon by the attackers.”
14 days for beating a woman because she was pregnant with what they thought was a girl baby.
A godman at that. According to wikipedia, a godman is, a “charismatic guru who has a high-profile presence, is capable of attracting attention and support from Indian society, and makes claims of spiritual attainments. Godmen sometimes claim to possess paranormal powers, such as clairvoyance, or healing abilities. A Godman’s followers often address the godman as His Holiness.”
And her family. Her family did this to HER.
For many in India, girls do not hold value. They are a cost, bargaining and not worthy. This is sickening.
Women in China have their babies kidnapped and stolen and then placed up for adoption because of the one child policy. To make things worse, since boy children are prized, the girls are often killed, aborted or just abandoned so that the family can “try again” for a boy.
I had a short-term nanny from India who faced issues and it was so hard for ME as a mom that I couldn’t keep her. She had faced dowry abuse, and had in-law problems. She had a master’s degree (her parents spent their life savings on her education, then marriage and dowry), but her in-laws refused to let her work. They thought she was tutoring, but really she was baby sitting and then sending that money on to her parents who couldn’t afford their medications. Her brothers blamed her for her parents poverty.
She had a daughter.
She didn’t want another daughter.
They cost too much, she said.
They suffer too much.
I don’t want to bring another girl into this world, she claimed.
I was pregnant with baby number two.
If its another girl, she asked, will you abort.
Of course not I thought.
But that’s not what I said.
What if I were in her position.
Her husband wanted another kid.
She feared a second girl.
She thought she should get pregnant while she still was in the US.
She could have a gender ultrasound
Abort if another girl.
Her husband was okay with another girl.
She was not.
I couldn’t handle the feeling of dread.
She would cry when she told me these stories.
She was given a new name at marriage. Entirely different.
She lost her identity.
It was too much.
It is too much.
It is reality.
Action must be taken.
Awareness must be made.
No woman should be ashamed of being a woman.
No woman should be blamed for being pregnant with a girl.
No person should be allowed to get away with such crimes. Murder. Hate. Pain.
I saw a woman walking down the street the other day. Most of her body was covered, but her face bore scars. All scarred. Scared was what I felt, when I should have felt compassion. A split second of fear. Was it fear for me or her? She clearly was a survivor of an acid attack. When did it happen? Why? I felt proud that she still goes out in public. Would I have that courage? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But it isn’t her shame. It is that of a society that allows this to happen. That allows women to feel burdened by their own life. By families who kill their own.
What can we do?
Get together with some friends, pitch in to get this movie, and consider the plight, that for me, was close, but still far away. But now, it hits home. It is real. It is sad. I must be part of a solution. Even if just for one girl.