The Performer

The Performer

Audre Lorde

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

We Are A Nation of Daughter-Killers, Affirms India’s 2011 Census

Good evening,

I hope you are doing well. I am sitting in this room, checking my mail...smiling at the good news, frowning and shedding tears over the sad that I have no control over. This is one of the latter. I am a woman who is grateful for the far I have come and thankful to God for the gift of life. I am fast approaching 30 years in the next few months and when I read about how new born babies (girls) are killed in one way or another, from whichever country from within the globe, it breaks my heart and shatters it to pieces.

Those young ones would have grown to become such a powerful force to reckon with in regards to whatever professions they would have gotten into (even if they ended up being housemaids!) They are women. Women are born to make an impact in society, to be the voice of hope for the world... They are the beast of burdens, we   go through child bearing and all... But know what? We are the chosen ones, we are SPECIAL in every way possible and the feeling of being WOMANLY flows through our veins and make us feel wonderful (I am not implying that being male feels otherwise).

It means that we have to come out and stand as one, empower one another and go to extra strides in ensuring that the value of being a woman is restored, respected and restored and not mutilated.

This is one article WE should ALL read and start a conversation around. It may be happening so far from home, but it is one that affects us in one way or another. Could it also be happening in Kenya (in communities that believe that giving birth to a baby boy calls for goat eating ceremonies unlike when a girl is born and the community is in mourning)?

What about girls who due to community beliefs and customs of the stay out of school during their monthly periods because they are looked at as 'dirty' and should not mingle with anyone? Aren't they being deprived of their right to education? If their parents are impoverished and cannot afford to buy them sanitary towels, cotton or even improvise cloths so that their daughters can continue go to school and stay clean...what are we doing about it?

What about girls that get raped by their neighbors and again due to poverty their parents agree to 'out of court settlements' to avert shame and get some money or materials out of it? Are we aware that in Kibera slums (and am sure several other areas, these are daily occurrences)? For the aggressive/single parent mothers whose girls are abused, they approach an institution to get some form of support in prosecuting criminals. They are made to sit on benches for months, in the promise of getting help that never actually comes. They give up and get back with their lives, only to later find out that their daughters got infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) and HIV amongst others and they have to grapple with the strain that comes with taking care of them and get financially and emotionally drained!! What is the Government doing? What are we doing?

We are still women, we should be there for one another. It does not mean that if we are not directly affected by an issues then it is none of our business. Well, we should make it our business because in generations to come, that may be your daughter going through the same. We should watch out for one another and challenge the fact that, 'women are each other's enemy'. Anyway, am just pondering...

I have said enough, let's take an e-trip to India and know what's happening there! I am looking forward to your very worthy comments! Lots of Love and thank you for the continued support.

APRIL 1, 2011
Photo Credit: Joel Dousset©. Copyright, All Rights Reserved.
“We detest daughters! We hate them so much that we kill them before birth.  And we kill them after birth!  We kill them as they take their first breath.  We kill them while they are suckling infants.  We kill them as they learn to walk.  We kill them as they learn to talk and say ‘mama’ and ‘baba.’ We kill them as they learn to smile and trust, and love, and ask for their favorite foods – mangoes or sweets.  We kill them as they learn to play with their friends, and listen to stories about fairies, princesses, and far away dreams.  We kill them because we hate them.  We kill our daughters in the millions.”
This is the message that India’s, just released, 2011 census data sends out.
The data reveals that in the age group 0-6 years, the gender ratio is 914 girls to 1000 boys.   Which means that for every 1000 boys, there are at least 86 girls under the age of 6 who were killed before or after birth.
This is the lowest gender ratio recorded since India’s Independence in 1947.
What is important to note here is that this data is not just about the systematic prevention of birth and continuity of females through sex-selected feticide, but it is also about the widespread and systematic killing of girls who are 6 years and under.  How are these girls being killed?
It has long been known that little girls in India are often deliberately subjected to hunger and neglect.  It is a cruel form of torture, for often it is how a family vents its anger on the daughters for being born as girls. Many are dying of malnutrition and/or starvation.  If a girl falls sick, the family often will not take her to the hospital or buy her medicines.  A 2007 UNICEF report affirmed that girls under-5 years in India had a 40% higher mortality rate than boys the same age.   This essentially is negligent homicide.
A 2011 report on a study conducted jointly by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Harvard School of Public Health confirmed that girls under 5 years in India were dying at an abnormally high rate because they were being subject to inhumane violence at home by their families.  The study observed that girls were 21% more likely than boys to die before their 5thbirthday because of violence.  And infant girls, who were one year and younger were 50% more likely to die because of violence than boys that age.  The head researcher commented, “Shockingly this violence does not pose a threat to your life if you are lucky enough to be born a boy.”
Female infanticide has a long history in India, and chillingly each region has had its own established, traditional way of killing infant girls, methods that include drowning the baby in a bucket of milk, or feeding her salt, or burying her alive in an earthen pot.  In a study by the Registrar General of India published in 2010 in the medical journal “The Lancet,” a curious factor came to light.  Girls in India of the age 1month to 5 years were dying of pneumonia and diarrhea at a rate that is 4-5 times higher than boys that age.  The study makes a critical observation — that the skewed survival rates for girls are a reflection on social bigotry against girls.  But real question is what accounts for this abnormal difference in rate and why these two medical maladies in particular?
The answer is provide by author and journalist Gita Aravamudan, in her book Disappearing Daughters (Penguin Books, 2007), which is based on her research from more than two decades of field investigations of female infanticide and feticide in India.  She observes that old, traditional methods of killing infants can be immediately detected in case infanticide is suspected and an police investigation is launched.  She says
“[To avoid arrest] families adopt more torturous methods of killing [infant girls]…Female infanticide I found had become more ‘scientific.’ Inducing pneumonia was the modern method. The infant was wrapped in a wet towel or dipped in cold water as soon as it was born or when it came back home from hospital. if, after a couple of hours, it was still alive it was taken to a doctor who would diagnose pneumonia and prescribe medicine, which the parents promptly threw away. when the child finally died, the parents had a medical certificate to prove pneumonia.  Sometimes the infant was fed a drop of alcohol to create diarrhea: another ‘certifiable disease.’ (pg.22)

NB: Sorry for the very long posts guys!


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