A right wing Hindu group in India, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, is claiming that Valentine’s Day encourages rape and plans to protest the holiday. In the past, Hindu radicals kept vigil at parks, restaurants and other places, and occasionally went on the rampage, attacking pubs and greeting card shops, but they vow to raise awareness peaceably this year.
At the same time women in India are using the day to promote awareness about women’s issues. Women throughout India are rising up in dance and demonstration as a part of the worldwide One Billion Rising movement against rape and rape culture.
As we celebrate a day that represents the freedom to love whom we choose, let’s remember the millions of girls in India who are denied the same freedom; girls who are given as child brides and are trapped in marriages characterized by violence rather than romance. In India, 56% of women are given in marriage before the age of 18. Forty percent of the world’s child marriages occur in India. Young girls are more likely to die during pregnancy or child birth, which accounts for India having the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
The Invisible Girl Project is working in India to raise awareness and save girls from gendercide. As you choose your Valentine this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to send your love to a girl in India by giving to Invisible Girl Project.