Numbers convey, in part, why India is referred to as one of the world’s rape capitals—one woman is raped every fifteen minutes; and in fifty years, there has been a staggering rise of 873 per cent in sexual crimes against girls.
Yet numbers reveal only a part of the truth. Beyond statistics, there are stories, often unreported—of women in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh, who are routinely raped if they spurn the advances of men; of girls from de-notified tribes in Central India who have no recourse to justice if sexually violated; of victimized lower-caste girls in small-town Baduan, Uttar Pradesh. There are also stories of custodial rape, non-consensual incest and trafficking.
Priyanka Dubey travels through large swathes of India, over a period of six years, to uncover the accounts of disenfranchised women who are caught in the grip of patriarchy. Equally, she asks if after the globally-reported December 2012 gang-rape of Nirbhaya in New Delhi, India’s gender narrative has shifted—and if it hasn’t, what needs to be done to make this a nation worthy of its intrepid girls.