To Prevent Rape, India Unveils Toilets

Charity offers them in village where teen girls were murdered
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
Activists hold candles during a vigil to protest against the gang rape of two teenage girls, in New Delhi, India, Saturday, May 31, 2014.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

(Newser) – In the hope of preventing future rapes and murders, a charity unveiled 108 brand-new toilets Sunday in India. What's the connection? In May, two girls were raped and hanged at Katra Sadatganj in Uttar Pradesh, and relatives say the cousins were last seen going out in the dark to relieve themselves—"the usual practice" in a country where 600 million people lack proper sanitation, the Independent reports. Now the sanitation charity Sulabh International hopes to make a difference with the toilets, which were given to villagers and which, a charity rep says, should each take about 16 years for a family of five to fill, the Financial Express reports.

"Absence of toilets in houses, particularly in rural areas, is behind such incidents of rapes and sexual assaults in villages," said charity founder Bindeshwar Pathak at the unveiling, The Hindu reports. The donation followed a speech on August 15 in which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was aiming to give every school in India proper toilets this year. "Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?" he said. "Can’t we just make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?" (Police said recently that the two girls' bodies would be exhumed as part of an ongoing investigation.)

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