Why does @WomenUndrSiege Hide the Dirty Secrets of India’s Female Gendercide?


For the last 10 years, I have been researching, writing and working through my online campaign, The 50 Million Missing, to raise awareness about India’s ongoing female genocide.  More than 50 million women have been eliminated from India, subjected to every form of violence, at every stage of life.  (See this video)

I realize that many people don’t know! That’s why we have this campaign.  And when they find out many are very supportive.

But I find, the biggest resistance in the west are are women’s and human rights groups, people who have some awareness about what’s going on, and who turn and look away even when I provide them with the information.

And I’m writing this blog to tell you about one such incidence with a blog called “Women Under Siege” and to ask why this is so?

The ‘Women Under Siege’ blog, is a project that I believe is  spearheaded by Gloria Steinem and says  its aim is to document “how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide [of women] …throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

I found nothing on their blog on India!! So I asked the director of this blog if I could submit a piece, sending this article, as information on what I wanted to write about.   She read it, marked the passages she wanted me to emphasize and asked for an 800 word piece, that talked about what the gendercide of India’s women actually entails and what the culture-specific factors are that hides the dirty secrets of this violence.

While I was working on that piece, the director of Women Under Siege sent me another piece which was written by two Spanish journalists on a article on India’s widows.  The director was not sure  asking if the information was true, and needed someone who was familiar with women’s issues in India to give them feedback.   She said,“…they may be making generalizations that could offend some Indians. If you see a way to be more specific in places, please let me know. And whatever seems incorrect to you, please mark…appreciate your eyes on this!”  I worked on that article too, and sent it back with my feedback, corrections, suggestions and information links, and told them what the Spanish journalists had written about is true and happening in India.

Almost immediately, they accepted all my corrections and suggestions for the Spanish journalists articles and published it right away.  However they were were being rather evasive about my submission!  The editor told me that a Pulitzer prize winning author was reviewing my article for them, some woman called Carole Woodier.   I couldn’t locate this person on the web, and then what followed was very astonishing.   Not only was a fictitious editing my paper, but apparently they didn’t have staff to check references initially, and then after a series of emails the editor basically told me she didn’t think that there was even a gendercide in India!!! In her words: “the conclusions [that there is a gendercide]went way beyond the facts.”

I was shocked!! This was racism at every level conceivable! My authority was good enough to correct and publish an article on the treatment of widows in India written by two European women.  But it was not good enough to accept there was even a female gendercide in India! I realized later with the whole fictitious name had given me etc. they were interested in my expertise, but only to get work out of me to publish an article that two other other European women had written on the treatment of Indian women.  They had no intention of publishing anything about the genocidal violence on Indian women!!

So what is the real reason that ‘Women Under Siege’ refused to publish this piece? 

I’ve been told by many people that this is about the ‘abortion’ issue!  American feminists are so terrified about the abortion controversy that they’d rather close their eyes to it being used as a form of violence on women in India as well as the other misogynistic killings in India.  That’s a pity because I am pro-choice. I lived in the U.S. for many years, where I actively supported the pro-choice movement.  And I take a pro-choice stand on India’s female gendercide.  Women in India are battered into having back to back abortions, even if it kills many of them.  Women who have daughters — have their daughters killed after birth.  Women in India have NO CHOICE ! 

Yet, one thing I noticed when I looked up the other articles on this blog, is that irrespective of the country, be it in Asia, South America, Africa, the writers seemed to be all white women giving their perspective on violence on women in these countries!!  That couldn’t be a co-incident now could it?

Please read this excerpt (below) from the article that I sent to Women Under Siege under the title “What’s Hiding the Ugly Secrets of India’s Mass Femicide” and do check out the links.  Then tell me, why you think ‘Women Under Siege’ refused to publish this.

How far can gender-based hatred go? By 2030, India will have exterminated 20% of its women, about a 100 million women, for one reason only – because they were female!

This extermination involves the selective abortions of millions of female fetuses, as well as what Diana Russell termed ‘Femicide’, the hate-killings of millions of female infants, girls and women. In 2012 the UN-DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) reported that of 150 countries, including those far poorer than India, India has the highest mortality rate for girls from birth to 5-years, and that in this age group, a girl in India is 75% more likely to die than a boy. In 2011 a study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that over a 15 year period, 1.8 million girls under the age of 6-years had been battered to death by their families.  The survey also showed that these were the same homes where domestic violence killed women.

Burning women alive for dowry (wealth demanded by the husband’s family) is so pervasive it has acquired a hideous tag: “bride-burning.” A 2009 report in the Lancet based on hospital records showed that about 136000 women were burnt to death in India every year. In a television discussion , Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaisingh said there were other forms of dowry murders that were not accounted for in these figures, such as by hanging, battering, and drowning. In 2012, on a T.V. show, Indian women testified how they were tortured by their husbands and in-laws to undergo multiple, back-to-back abortions when expecting girls, and how it took a toll on their bodies. Women frequently die because of this, and it’s one of the reasons why India has the highest pregnancy related mortality rate in the world – one woman dies every 5 minutes.

India’s misogynistic savagery is globally unprecedented. It exists across all classes irrespective of education and wealth.  What allows it to continue this way?

Leave a comment


  1. Sweet Marmot

     /  July 3, 2012

    The reason they won’t publish your article is because it’s too honest about the use of abortion as a tool of cultural misogyny and abuse of women. Modern mainstream feminists can’t stand that kind of honesty. Anything that presents abortion in a less than glorious light, or reveals it to be something that can harm women, is not tolerated. Modern mainstream feminists have sold women down the river, not just Indian women, but American women too. Abortion comes first for them. That’s it. In the US, women are killed by husbands and boyfriends for refusing abortion, but modern mainstream feminists have nothing to say about this.

    You might get a better deal from the Feminists For Life, or the Susan B Anthony list. They care more about the real problems women have. But these are not accepted as feminists by the mainstream ones, because they don’t glorify abortion. Still they care about the real abuse that women face in the world.
    Also check out Phylliss Chesler. She’s a feminist who has fallen afoul of her fellow feminists, because she complains about their lack of willingness to speak out for women who are abused in the Moslem world. Cultural sensitivity, a feeling of “it won’t happen to me because I’m not from the Moslem culture,” political correctness, and a desire to focus mostly on promoting abortion are all reasons why modern American feminists refuse to stick up for their Moslem sisters.

    But back to the issue of their refusal to use your article. You show that abortion can be used in misogynistic ways, and that repeated legal abortion can harm or even kill women. This portrays abortion as less than glorious and that is NOT tolerated by these pro-abortion fanatics.

    Also, you mention that Indian women have abortion violently forced upon them. Forced abortion, whether by force of law, as in China, or by a hateful misogynistic culture, as in India, or forced by a boyfriend who doesn’t want to be a father, as in the US, is NOT something these so-called feminists want talked about. It screws up their biggest public selling point on abortion, namely a woman’s right to choose. Although in reality, it’s the abortion that ends up having the rights, and if women refuse abortion, they are made ot feel like traitors to the “pro-choice” cause. So much for “choice.”

    • Rita Banerji

       /  July 5, 2012

      @Sweet Marmot — Thanks for the comment and references. I think it is so ironic — because I lived in the U.S. for many years and have actively supported the pro-choice movement there. For me the most important thing about the American feminists’ pro-choice movement was its emphasis on the fact that a woman owns her own body, reproduction and sexuality. I’m grew up in a culture that tells girls as they grow up that their body is owned first by their parents and then their husbands, in-laws, community and religion. Her parents tell her who she is to marry (whether she wants to or not), whose children she’ll bear (whether she wants to or not), whether or not those children will be aborted, and whether or not the children she gives birth to will live or die.

      Recently I told a western woman arguing with me on a forum that women in India are tortured and abused into abortion. Women who give birth to girls are killed or divorced or thrown out. She replied: “Well, that’s between a rock and a hard place. But that still is choice.”

      I know I didn’t misunderstand ‘choice’ the way the American feminist movement means it. Because I know that if what is happening to Indian women, happened to white women in America, the feminist movement would come out with all their battle gear. I assumed a global sisterhood here, and I’m so disappointed to be let down this way.

  2. the 50 million missing campaign has truly opened my eyes to a whole host of suffering that I must admit I was not aware of, and I can’t believe that anyone who is aware of it would make a comment like “maybe it’s better given the population problem in India.”

    • Rita Banerji

       /  July 4, 2012

      Do spread the word Jennifer because what you say is exactly what we are trying to do. Each person who knows and tells their friends through facebook, twitter etc. is really joining in the goal of this campaign. So thank you. We’ve also just started a newspaper log of incidents of crimes against girls and women. Do see it to know what I’m talking about here. And we have a petition demanding official accountability and the implementation of laws. Please do sign and circulate.

  3. Typical! The American feminist movement is all about white women’s issues. And they are the only ones to sound their opinions on what is and what isn’t violence against women! You should check out what the African American women have to say about racism in the feminist movement there.

    • Rita Banerji

       /  July 8, 2012

      I am curious about that too. I’ve lived in the U.S.,so yes I’m aware. I’m not sure what exactly this is. Is that they don’t want to touch the ‘abortion’ issue here so they’d rather just ignore the violence on girls and women, because if people get to know of the massive violence on women and girls surely they’ll figure where the forced abortions are stemming from? OR is it that they want a white woman to write this from a first world perspective. Which basically treats the safety of women and girls in the third world as conditional. It’s only women in the first world for whom it is an unconditional and basic human right. That’s why most of the writings on this violence on India’s women and girls is like a ‘Save the dolphin’ charity gesture. Not a outrageous violation of human rights for which there is no excuse or rationalization.

  4. Sweet Marmot

     /  July 6, 2012

    Rita: What you describe in the answer to my post is typical of modern feminists. They say they suport women. But when push comes to shove, they don’t really.

  5. chrissie55

     /  July 12, 2012

    Forced abortion is decidedly NOT ‘pro-choice’, but we wonder, what is to be done to protect women & girls?

    • Rita Banerji

       /  July 13, 2012

      Chrissie — These abortions are forced because the fetus is female. These are not unplanned pregnancies. And most of these abortions are late term because they want to make sure that the fetus is not a boy which they don’t want to lose. A couple of years ago — a newspaper report on one of the clinics in Eastern India has photographs of disposed ‘babies’ or so the report said. But they were essentially third term pregnancies when the fetus is between 7-8 months and fully formed. That is one way the families make sure that it is a girl they are getting rid of and not a boy. They can see it for themselves. But these are illegal. The law was made because all this is known — and the law is to protect women and girls in this country. But the government does not even pretend to implement the laws!! The UK which has the same law does a better job of implementing it as does Norway. There must be international pressure on the govt of India to implement its laws. Otherwise it is an anarchy not a democracy.

  6. Rita have you had any response from “Women Under Siege” on this yet?

    • Rita Banerji

       /  August 16, 2012

      After I wrote this blog, the editor send me a hurried note saying since I was so upset to write this blog, she would now tell me the real reason for why they said no. Now why wouldn’t they tell me the real reason before I wondered? Then she said that the data I have provided does not support the assertion I am making that this is a female gendercide. More over she points out that the 100,000 plus women who are burnt to death — are all total number burnt to death!! Yes, in the bracket 15-35 years where the so-called “bride burnings” happen, and as the research shows the deaths are not investigated or filed by police! I’m sure she’s heard of “bride burnings” but thinks — oh that’s normal for the Indian women — right?

  7. Orkideh84

     /  January 1, 2013

    There is few main reasons: They are cultural relativists and they can’t stand the fact that feminists outside Europe are just as capeable to fight misgyni as everyone else and also many European so-called feminists doesn’t give a shit about women in Middle East either!
    Hence they were even so offended by Iranian feminists who has more radical opinions!

    • I agree with you. I think when ‘cultural relativists’ or as ‘liberal feminists’ or whatever people call themselves say they don’t want to offend third word communities by recognizing, naming and fighting the misogyny that’s killing or repressing women and girls, I don’t think they are looking into the eyes of the women who are burnt alive for dowry or lynched as ‘witches.’ They are more worried about the ‘sentiments’ of the oppressors or the silent bystanders who allow this violence to go on. As far as I’m concerned these are not real feminists or human rights activists.

      • Thank you for the reply(yes it’s me Orkideh84), your reply through here and Twitter, helped me a lot with information, and I’m not even graduated from any University, but I do read and learn stuff a lot by my own and in fact I’m so surprised that how could these educated hardworking group being so stupid about gendercide-subject?!
        I even responded WomenUnderSiege how really disappointed I was, since I’ve followed them under long period. Really, they need to get rid of these stupid “cultural relativist-thinking”! It’s not working! It doesn’t help any woman in any country.

        I’m done ranting, and I’m going once I have time or money, I’ll buy the DVD “It’s a girl.”

      • Dana, I think it has more to do with how honest we are with our selves. Take FGM for instance. If an adult man, a stranger, did to a little girl, what is done during FGM, ripped out the vagina, chopped off the genitals, sealed the groin shut, while the girl felt everything, we’d think he was the sickest, most perverted ass-hole! But in the name of “culture” we pretend it is ok? How do we DE-sensitivize ourselves to what the victims feel here?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: