THE gang-rape of two teenage girls who were then hanged from a
tree is evidence that "culture kills,"the director of Restored,
Mandy Marshall, said on Wednesday.
Restored is an international Christian alliance tackling
violence against women. Ms Marshall said that women were seen as
second-class citiziens in India. "We need to see men treating women
as equals. Until we see that, we will still see cases where women
are treated as objects, and in this case, sexual objects for the
pleasure of men, rather than as human beings made in the image of
Three suspects have confessed to the gang-rape and killing, in
the village of Katra Sadatgunj in Uttar Pradesh. The two girls,
cousins aged 14 and 15, disappeared on Tuesday night last week,
after leaving their home to relieve themselves in neighbouring
fields. Their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree the next
Protests over the handling of the case by the police have taken
place across India. The father of one of the girls told the BBC
last week that when policemen found out that he was from a lower
caste, they "refused to look for my girl".
Two policemen have been accused of dereliction of duty and
criminal conspiracy, and a federal police investigation is take
Ms Marshall said that caste had "absolutely" played a part in
the case; and she drew attention also to the link between lack of
sanitation facilities and sexual violence. The Church in India
still had "some way to go" on sexual violence: "Lots has been
written about. But it's how those in a position of power and
responsibility are taking them up, or choosing to sideline them. .
. When culture kills, culture has to change. This is classic case
where we have seen culture kill."
There were signs of hope, she said. About 300 churches had been
represented at a Call to Compassion conference in Mumbai last year,
where many men had signed up to Restored's First Man Standing
campaign, which asks men to speak out against violence against
The protests in India coincided with the Archbishop of
Canterbury's visit to the country. He met leaders of the Churches
of North and South India. In Delhi, he preached at St James's, and
visited Raj Gaht, a memorial to Gandhi.