Rupa Khetarpal, Associate Professor of Teaching at Rutgers School of Social Work and an expert in global gender-based violence, is available to comment on the release of a video that has gone viral in India showing the sexual assault of two women by a mob of men during an ethnic conflict, which has sparked outrage in the country.
The following quote from Khetarpal is available for pick-up:
“Historically, women and girls have experienced sexual violence during conflict across the world. More importantly, the violence is strategized and systematic to denigrate and destroy minority communities. In India, during partition and other regional conflicts driven by political and economic agendas, sexual violence against women and girls has been a weaponized mechanism to shame, control and obliterate the existence of specific communities. This violence is compounded by the existing discrimination and patriarchal norms in India that make women vulnerable to victimization and blatant gender-based oppression.
“Pramila Patten, Special representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, calls sexual violence against women and girls during conflict the ‘most silenced and least condemned crime,’ which explains the pervasiveness of these crimes and the accompanying lack of accountability of the perpetrators. We have learned from these continuing events that people in dominant communities engage in these behaviors fearlessly, because quite simply, they can. They believe that they cannot be held liable and have the undeniable support of official authorities and those in power. Sexual violence against women and girls has long-lasting adverse health impacts on these individuals, families and communities continuing through generations.”