It is difficult to reconcile India’s rapid economic and technological development with brutal practices that, in many cases, lead to the death of women and girls. Repeated incidents of gang rape in India are not isolated, but reflect widespread gender and caste discrimination in the country. Today, rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India.

Two recent gang rapes resulting in the deaths of Dalit women have shocked people around the world. Both women were young, one 19 and the other 22 years old. In India, 200 million Dalits, lower caste Indians, face discrimination and abuse. According to women rights’ activists, this is a situation that has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. There are no signs that crimes against women and girls are abating.

One of the earliest and most brutal manifestation of violence against women is female feticide, where female fetuses are selectively aborted after prenatal sex determination. Researchers for The Lancet estimate that more than 500,000 girls are lost annually through sex selective abortions. Sometimes, the elimination of girls occurs after they are born, a situation of female infanticide that has existed for centuries in India.