U.S. researcher ties higher incidents of rape in India to open defecation
- Women in India, who defecate in the open are prone to sexual violence and infrastructure improvements can provide them with some level of protection, an United States university researcher has said.
- Women, who use open defecation sites like open fields or the side of a railway track, are twice as likely to get raped when compared with women using a home toilet.
- The research results indicate that infrastructure improvements can provide women with some level of protection against NPSV.
- Findings provide further rationale for NGOs and the Indian government to expand sanitation programmes, and raise new questions about the potentially protective role of sanitation facilities in other contexts beyond India.
- According to the study, at least 50 per cent of structures built for sanitation purposes in India remain unused or are used for other purposes.
- The researchers strongly recommends infrastructure improvements that can provide women with some level of protection against sexual violence, along with behaviour changes to utilise these built toilet facilities.
- There have been several nationwide campaigns in India to improve sanitation, most recently Swachh Bharat Mission which can bring access to toilets and safety in national conversation.
- Nearly half of the world’s population lacks access to improved sanitation conditions and half of them reside in India, according to a 2015 UNICEF report.
- Almost half-a-billion Indians defecate in the open and about 300 million women and girls in India have no access to bathrooms.