Earlier this year, a 13-year-old girl left her parents’ home in Kanpur, India in the late hours of the night and never returned. The next day, her body was found naked, with broken limbs. She had been raped and murdered. The girl hadn’t left home on a late night adventure, to meet up with friends or go to a party. She had left because there was no toilet at home, and her only option for relief was to go outside.
This incident, while truly horrifying, is far from isolated. In the Indian state of Bihar, for example, where almost 70 percent of rural households have no access to a toilet, most cases of rape of women and girls happen when they are forced to defecate out in the open. There is a lot of work to be done to get at the root causes of endemic violence against women, but in the meantime ...more