Treated Worse than Animals

locked upDear Friends for Life:   During this past year, much online focus has been centered on India and its many, many female human rights abuses. Among them, the treatment of women and girls with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. A large number are locked up in institutions against their will and some are filthy and overcrowded. The female patients rang with disabilities from Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy to schizophrenia and depression.

mentalhealth01While men and boys in same situation also face abuses, the following report focuses on women and girls since they are particularly marginalized because of their gender.

Human Rights Watch’s Kriti Sharma spoke with Amy Braunschweiger about the 24 institutions she and other researchers visited across four Indian states – including government mental hospitals and government and private residential care facilities – for the new report, “Treated Worse than Animals.” This is what they found.

crowded01One of many examples stated in the report: “The nurses would make us have the medications in front of them. If I complained that there were too many tablets, the nurse would sometimes forcefully put the pills in my mouth and stroke my throat to send them down, the way I feed my dogs…I woke up one night and I couldn’t move; my body was in intense physical pain. A nurse came and jabbed an injection into my body, without even taking off my clothes. You are treated worse than animals; it’s an alternate reality.”

Cretin_Child_(1)Reported abuses in the report consist of involuntary admission and arbitrary detention, experience of overcrowding and lack of hygiene, inadequate access to general healthcare, forced treatment – including electroconvulsive therapy – as well as physical, verbal, and sexual violence. In one case, a woman with both intellectual and psychosocial disabilities was sexually assaulted by a male staff member in a mental hospital in Kolkata. The report also examines the multiple barriers that prevent women and girls with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities from reporting abuses and accessing justice.

indwom0312_840_582_100The new report presents a gloomy picture of female human life being abused and sadly forgotten on the fringes of society. The report does end with many recommendations; however, the wornout question linguers: WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THEM? Does anyone hear these suffering voices of real women and girls crying out from India? Does anyone really care? Or is it just another page entered into our human condition while those who can make a difference close their eyes.

Listen to Words of Marginalized People:  Women Institutionalized Against their Will in India

God Bless
Jerry Novotny, OMI


(The Difference is LIFE)  “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – St. John XXIII


Websites by Fr. Jerry

Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in English) (in Japanese)

Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in Japanese)

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