“We are victims of violence because we are poor, lower caste and women, so looked down upon by all,” a Dalit woman told researcher Jayshree Mangubhai some years ago. “There is no one to help or speak for us. We face more sexual violence because we don’t have any power,” she said.
Last week, it was reported that a 19-year-old Dalit woman (the Dalits were once called “Untouchables”) wwas allegedly gang raped and assaulted by a group of upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh state again. The news shone the spotlight again on the rampant sexual violence faced by India’s 80 million Dalit women, who like their male counterparts languish at the bottom of India’s unbending and harsh caste hierarchy.
These women, who comprise about 16% of India’s female population, face a “triple burden” of gender bias,