Yet another horrific story arises as the struggle on behalf of women and girls continues. In New Delhi, India, when the worried parents of a missing 5-year-old child tried filing a missing person's report, the police ignored the parents and the case. After the child was kidnapped, two adult men held her hostage for two days while they repeatedly gang-raped the helpless girl. The men sexually tortured the 5-year-old, inserting candles and bottles into her private parts. When the callous men were done with her, they tried to strangle the child and fled the apartment where they held her captive.
BBC Radio ran a major feature last week on the issue of gender-based abortion in countries including India & China. Shelagh Fogarty of BBC Radio 5 Live played excerpts from It's a Girl and explored gendercide through first hand testimonies and expert commentary, including Dr. Mitu Khurana, Dr. Puneet Bedi and Reggie Littlejohn, all of whom were featured in It's a Girl.
The program audio can be played below. We commend the BBC for giving attention to this important issue!
BBC Investigative Report on Gendercide, featuring It's a Girl
Chinese Embassy Staff Refuse to Accept Delivery of Two Hundred Thousand Petitions Calling on China to End Gendercide
In the wake of the Capitol screening of It’s A Girl Tuesday evening, Wednesday, Congressman Chris Smith joined with Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and other members of the Coalition Against Gendercide at the Capitol to highlight the more than two hundred thousand petitions signed by people around the world, through the Causes platform, demanding that China end forced abortion and sterilization under the One Child Policy, and take action against gendercide.
Bipartisan Members of U.S. Congress Stand With The Coalition Against Gendercide to Host It’s a Girl Screening
Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ), Jim Moran (D-VA), and Mark Meadows (R-NC) joined with the nonpartisan Coalition Against Gendercide to host a special screening of It's A Girl in the Capitol building in Washington D.C., in conjunction with the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights. The members of Congress were joined by congressional staff, NGO leaders and members of the media for this groundbreaking event.
Mitu Khurana is a doctor in Delhi who fought to save her twin daughters from being selectively aborted, despite torture and violence at the hands of her husband and in-laws. Her story is told in It's a Girl,and has inspired audiences around the world! Since becoming one of the first women in India to take legal action against her in-laws and the doctor and hospital who conducted the illegal sex-determination test, Mitu has become a champion for girls in India.
But her story is not over. Her battle for justice in the courts has been met by threats of rape and murder against her and of kidnapping against her daughters. We asked Mitu to write this post updating us on where her case stands in the courts and how her ongoing struggle for justice is going.
This week, Sevenly is highlighting the work of It’s a Girl’s grassroots partner, Invisible Girl Project (IGP)!
Specifically, every shirt that Sevenly sells this week will support the work of Invisible Girl Project’s partner in South India that has successfully rescued over 170 girls from being murdered, just because they are girls (this is female infanticide). Through its partner, IGP has been able to have a significant impact in the lives of girls and women in the villages of South India
In a recent Huffington Post article, Soraya Chemaly said, "I'm thinking that it shouldn't take gendercide and gang rapes of children and women to motivate good men to act against pervasive injustice that all women and girls are subjected to in one degree or another." She goes on, "Women are not perpetrating widespread violence against one another or against men -- in homes or in war. And yet, whenever I go to meetings, seminars or schools to discuss this topic, I enter rooms full of women. This is immensely frustrating."
The Atlantic just published a review of It’s a Girl titled “Neither Pro-Life Nor Pro-Choice Can Solve the Selective Abortion Crisis” by Noah Berlatsky. It’s an excellent review that delves into some of the critical questions that must be addressed in order for the world to really see a global movement to end female gendercide.
Next week, governmental leaders from around the world are meeting in New York for the United Nation’s Commission on the Status ofWomen (UNCSW). This is the primary policy-making body on the planet when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights.
The theme this year is the elimination of violence against women and girls, and so we’ve been working hard with our partners to see It’s a Girl included in the two week event (4-15 March).
Several screenings of It’s a Girl are planned for the week, and they are all open to the public, so if you’re in New York or know any representatives of your organization in the area, please help us spread the word!
Sometimes the volume of stories about violence against women and gendercide coming out of India can be overwhelming and the cause can feel hopeless. But there is good news as well! Here is a great example of some in India who are overcoming the cultural norms of son-preference and are bringing change!
A doctor in the Hadapsar suburb of Pune began waiving maternity fees for women who have girls. Dr Ganesh Rakh has not only waived the fees for over 144 women to date, but the entire hospital celebrates the birth of the girl child by distributing sweets in the hospital!
A right wing Hindu group in India, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, is claiming that Valentine's Day encourages rape and plans to protest the holiday. In the past, Hindu radicals kept vigil at parks, restaurants and other places, and occasionally went on the rampage, attacking pubs and greeting card shops, but they vow to raise awareness peaceably this year.
At the same time women in India are using the day to promote awareness about women's issues. Women throughout India are rising up in dance and demonstration as a part of the worldwide One Billion Rising movement against rape and rape culture.
In December, It's a Girl Director, Evan Grae Davis appeared on the TEDx stage at TEDxGateway in Mumbai, India, the largest TEDx event in South Asia. Evan addressed 1000 leaders and influencers from the region about the film and the issue of gendercide. We are excited to announce that the video of Evan's TEDx talk is now available!
TED is a non-profit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading". TED was founded on the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. Since it started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design, TED has increased it's scope to encompass social issues and human rights concerns. TED's famous conferences have now expanded to allow local organizers to host independent TED events under the banner of TEDx.
As the Shadowline Films team welcomes a new year, we can’t help but be excited and humbled by the success of It’s a Girl and response of the international community to this film. When we released It’s a Girl in September of 2012, our hope and desire was to educate and mobilize a movement to end gendercide in India and China. Your incredible support for the film and advocacy for those who share their stories have far exceeded our highest expectations, and we want to thank you for lending your voice to the growing movement demanding dignity and equality for the women of India and China.
We are so excited to be the first to share with you the It’s a Girl music video!
After seeing just the film trailer, Omékongo Dibinga was inspired to lend his voice to help end gendercide. Omekongo - a rapper, trilingual poet, CNN contributor, motivational speaker and the Director of UPstander International - put pen to paper and wrote this amazing hip-hop song.
As India grieves the death of the young medical student who was brutally gang raped on a moving bus December 16th, 2012, a historic movement continues to develop demanding justice and action from the government. But leaders and legislators have come across as indifferent, unresponsive and out of touch with the reality of violence against women as thousands turn out to demonstrate and march in the streets of Delhi. “The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city,” a National Human Rights Commission statement said. “Especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women as a number of such incidents have been reported in the national capital in the recent past.”
Groping and sexual harassment of women is often referred to as “eve-teasing” and is attributed to the natural response of men to the behavior of women.
I first learned of the horrible phenomenon of femicide through data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Small Arms Survey report. We (the Academic Council on the United Nations-Vienna - ACUNS) had decided to do a side event at the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Commission in April 2012. Our ACUNS team was looking for interesting speakers and possible films to screen for that event, when my wife noticed an article in the Independent (January 16), which mentioned the film "It's A Girl". We managed to track down the producer Andrew Brown. Actually, we thought the film was already completed and then entered into a continuing discussion over several months about whether we could screen the film at the UN Office in Vienna. In the end, we recommended that It's Girl be premiered at the Vienna Human Rights Film Festival, which it was on December 4 to a sold out crowd.
In a recent trip to South India, I visited one of Invisible Girl Project’s partners that rescues and cares for unwanted baby girls. Rather than letting them be killed or trafficked, this home will take girls in, care for them, educate them, and teach them their inherent value...as human beings. The home has been rescuing and caring for girls for years, raising them, and then providing college educations or trades for them, preparing them for a future. Invisible Girl Project has been supporting them for the past three years.
I first learned about China’s One Child Policy while working as a litigation attorney in the early nineties. My client was seeking political asylum after escaping from a Chinese government that had forcibly sterilized her. I was shocked to discover that her case was not unique and that under China’s coercive family planning policy, women are routinely dragged from their homes and made to have abortions. Because some of these procedures are so violent, the mothers often end up dying along with their unborn children.
I have written about this issue so many times on my blog...but every single time I start...I am at a loss for words. How do I write about this? How can I say what I want to say without using so many numbers and statistics. Over 50 million (yes, million!!), 70 million or 100 million girls and women missing?? No-one really knows the numbers. I mean, there is no real way to calculate female fetuses and girls that are killed in the womb through sex elective abortions. There is no way to tell how many baby girls are suffocated to death...it's all very hidden so it's impossible to get a real number. But when you see a very skewed gender ratio in India and China...you start to get a clearer picture of the magnitude of the gendercide that is happening right now halfway across the world. But really, it's only a heartbeat away...because these girls are our daughters...these women are our sisters.