Tag Archives: rape

India, Bihar: rapes ’caused by lack of toilets’

Map showing  frequency & severity of violence against  women in Bhalswa slum, Delhi. Shirley Lennon/SHARE.

Map showing frequency & severity of violence against
women in Bhalswa slum, Delhi. Shirley Lennon/SHARE.

The lack of safe toilets for women and girls is often linked to an increased risk of sexual harassment and rape. Earlier studies [1] from Kenya, Uganda and India, and now a recent BBC news item are some of the few sources to actually quantify this risk.

Senior police official Arvind Pandey from the Indian state of Bihar told the BBC that 400 women would have “escaped” rape in 2012 if they had toilets in their homes. The rapes take place when women go outside to defecate early in the morning and late evening. These “sanitation-related” rapes make up nearly half of the more than 870 cases of rape in Bihar in 2012.

The BBC news item lists three specific cases:

  • On 5 May, an 11-year-old girl was raped in Mai village in Jehanabad district when she was going to the field at night
  • On 28 April, a young girl was abducted and raped when she had gone out to defecate in an open field in Kalapur village in Naubatpur, 35km (21 miles) from the state capital, Patna
  • On 24 April, another girl was raped in similar circumstances on a farm in Chaunniya village in Sheikhpura district. She told the police that two villagers had followed and raped her. One of them has been arrested

In Bihar , 75.8% of homes have no toilet facilities (Census 2011). Some 49% of the households without a toilet wanted one for “safety and security” for women and children, according to a study by Population Service International (PSI),   Monitor Deloitte and Water for People.

[1] Heise, L., 2013. Danger, disgust and indignity : women’s perception of sanitation in informal settlements. Powerpoint presented at “Making connections: Women, sanitation and health”, 29 April 2013, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Video version available at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS9ulpJqh7s

Related news:

  • Request for Proposals: The effects of poor sanitation on women and girls in India, Sanitation Updates, 07 Mar 2013
  • India, Delhi: how sexual violence against women is linked to water and sanitation, E-Source, 27 Mar 2012

Source: Amarnath Tewary, BBC, 09 May 2013