NPR: How A Lack Of Toilets Puts India’s Women At Risk Of Assault

Women shout slogans during a protest against the gang rape and hanging of two teenage girls. Beyond highlighting the rampant sexual violence in India, the crimes are drawing attention to a glaring and fundamental problem across the country that threatens women's safety: the lack of toilets. Altaf Qadri/AP

Women shout slogans during a protest against the gang rape and hanging of two teenage girls. Beyond highlighting the rampant sexual violence in India, the crimes are drawing attention to a glaring and fundamental problem across the country that threatens women’s safety: the lack of toilets. Altaf Qadri/AP

Source: Julie McCarthy, NPR Radio

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A young girl sweeps fallen debris from a tempest that blew through her village of Katra Sahadatganj one recent evening. This remote spot in Uttar Pradesh — India’s largest state — has become the center of another gathering storm.

It was here two weeks ago where two young girls were audaciously attacked: raped and hanged from a tree. Inter-caste violence and patriarchal attitudes combined to make a chilling spectacle in this impoverished place of mud-caked children and hand-pumped water.

“ It’s a question of belief in human dignity, which somewhere along the line we seem to have lost. - Gouri Choudhury, Action India

But the deaths conceivably could have been averted if the girls had had access to a toilet at home. Lacking one, on the night they were killed, the two teens did what hundreds of millions of women do across India each day: Under the cloak of darkness before sunrise or after sunset, they set out for an open field to relieve themselves. Continue reading