Marginalized groups are more likely to experience sexual violence, and to have had negative interactions with the criminal justice system. From indigenous women in North America who are less likely to have their cases investigated by the police to women living with disabilities in Georgia, particularly those with psycho-social needs, whose ability to testify in their own cases might be wrongly discounted, it is clear that the legal system doesn’t work equally for everyone.
An intersectional lens must be integrated into laws, policies, and procedures and followed from the outset to ensure that a victim-centered approach that is free from prejudicial stereotypes is always applied. Every survivor is entitled to justice and support, and systems must be designed to cater for a diverse range of needs and identities.
Addressing sexual violence against marginalized communities in India
Women and girls from minoritized communities in India face intersectional discrimination based on their caste and tribal/ethnic identities respectively. Data from the National Family Health Survey shows for example that Adivasi and Dalit women face the highest rates of sexual violence in the country.
Together with partners, we’re calling on national and state-level governments in India to take immediate action to:
- Increase police accountability and provision of effective victim and witness protection
- Address impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence particularly when they are from dominant castes
- Take steps to limit community intervention in cases of sexual violence, including by banning khap panchayats
- Combat the intersectional forms of discrimination faced by Dalit women and girls while dealing with law enforcement officials
- Improve resourcing and utilization of existing funds for sexual violence prevention and response programs.