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One in four Dalit women face harassment due to a lack of toilets: Report

Wednesday, 4 June 2014 - 6:50am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

One in every four Dalit women faces harassment due to a lack of toilets, reveals a study conducted by WaterAid International. The report also stated that only 13% of Dalit households in these states had sanitation facilities, and that 26% of Dalit women that had to resort to open defecation had reposrted some form of humiliation. 6% of these women had also reposted sexual harassment.

The full report, to be released later this year, has taken into account 9,644 Dalit households, from rural villages in four Indian states -- Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. In UP, the survey was conducted in Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Etawah, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Kanpur Dehat, Rae Bareli, Sitapur and Sonbhadra. Between 15 and 20 Dalit majority villages from each district (based on the 2001 census) were selected to give a representative sample. In total, just over 500 households from villages in each of the 20 districts were selected for interviews, comprising a total sample of 9,644 households. The WaterAid India survey was undertaken in 2013 in partnership with the National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR).

WaterAid International has released the extract from their study on open defecation in response to the gangrape and murder of two girls in Katara village in Badaun. The forthcoming report is based on the caste-based discrimination and sexual harassment Dalit women face due to open defecation.

"Priority needs to be given to end open defecation and to put in place the resources needed to significantly increase access to basic toilets. We call upon governments around the world to back proposals at the United Nations for everyone, everywhere to have basic sanitation, as well as clean drinking water and hygiene services, by 2030," said WaterAid chief executive Barbara Frost.

Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak, who had sent a team to the village for a survey said that the report had come at a right time, and that it stated what many women faced in the country. "I have seen, heard and felt through my several yeas in the field of sanitation that Dalit women are the worst-hit. Vulgar jokes, catcalls and sexual harassment is rampant. While the government claimed that only 100 houses in the village has no toilets, my team has found that all 406 houses in the village has no toilets," said Pathank. Pathak who has written to PM Narendra Modi on Monday asking for resources to build toilets in every homes in the country, said that he is hopeful that the PM will respond positively.

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