Barely 17 years old and from the Gajapati district in Odisha, India, Susmita has never gone to school. She rears the few animals her family owns, and this is her primary duty besides attending to household chores.
Today more than 200 schoolgirls will wake up to another day in an unthinkable nightmare. Three weeks ago, they were seized in the night by armed men dressed as soldiers who said they were there to protect them.
Imagine an orphanage where over 300 children born out of rape have been abandoned because of the shame and stigma associated with sexual violence. Imagine a town where, in the last year, 11 infants between the ages of six months and one year, and 59 small children from one to three years old, have been raped.
Every three years since 2007, a global advocacy organisation called Women Deliver
has convened an international conference to talk about issues relating to the health and well-being of girls and women.
Today is International Women’s Day, and the issue of gender-based violence is topic A. Sadly, it has been a newsworthy topic in the global media, as well.
World population will soon reach seven billion, and the decisions taken now will have a major impact on life in the 21st century. Our greatest challenge is meeting the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.