Women in countries all over the world are facing a very real, and very serious situation. It is no secret that a law is only as good as the people who enforce it; and in many developing countries, the police forces are ineffective and plagued with corruption. When you have a police force that is ineffective, you wind up with a justice system that is ineffective; and when you have a justice system that is ineffective, you allow criminals and crime to go unchecked and unpunished.
Over the course of my last trip to India, I became friends with a woman named Usha Vishwakarma; Usha runs a growing vigilante women's group known as "Lucknow's Red Brigade" out of her small village in North India that teaches women to fight back against rape and sexual assault. I teamed up with her for my first Kuros! "Pepper Spray Drop" in which we provided training and pepper spray to young women from her village and neighboring city, Lucknow.
I got a email from Usha this passed week, regarding a close friend of the "Red Brigade" who was attacked. Now, many of these attacks are extremely vicious... but this one was particularly gruesome. A young, 22-year-old woman named Gulafsha was assaulted, and had her face and most of her body doused in acid... she later died from her injuries. Usha sent me this photo of her, and would like to show people the reality of these attacks.
(I want to make a note that the picture is disturbing, and as such I have put it into a link, instead of attaching it with this article; if you want to see the reality of what's happening, a direct link to the NSFW image is here.)
There was no immediate response to her murder from the local police department. Usha and the Red Brigaders staged a silent protest in response to Gulafsha's murder, and a recent gang rape of a female news reporter two days prior that had gone unchecked by their local police force. This was an orderly demonstration, that lasted less than an hour before the police arrived and disbanded them.
I want to make it known that the sub inspector of the Hajratganj police in Lucknow, India is more concerned with maintaining the "public image" of his police department than actually protecting the citizens. What are citizens supposed to do when their law enforcers are either too unqualified, too lazy, or just don't care enough to protect them? With little to no police protection, the women of Lucknow are trying to take matters into their own hands; they are protesting and they are attempting to fight back. Before we as an international community push for increased legislation against sexually based crimes in these countries, we need to make sure we have a competent and effective law enforcement system in place. All the laws in the world won't matter if there is no one to enforce them.