India: A Dangerous Place To Be A Woman

Confirmed for BBC Three on 27 June at 9.00pm to 10.00pm

Thursday 27 June



Six months ago, a young medical student was brutally gang-raped on board a bus in the Indian capital Delhi. One of the many horrified at the violence was Radha Bedi, a young British Asian woman, who’s now going to India to uncover the reality of life for women there.

Twenty-eight year-old Radha has been to India before, but this time she’s travelling alone and facing up to some painful truths about her ancestral homeland. Radha has faced sexual harassment herself in India on past visits and difficult memories return as she meets girls who’ve suffered appalling brutality. As well as coming face to face with the father of the Delhi rape victim, Radha meets 15 year-old Tuba, who has horrific burns all over her body caused in an acid attack from a rebuffed male admirer.

Radha learns that the roots of much of this violence lies in the general discrimination women face, and how in many cases they’re not valued as equal to men – right from birth. She travels to her mother’s home village in the state of Punjab to discover that even the girls in her own family are not celebrated in the same way that boys are. At a nearby orphanage she meets girls abandoned shortly after birth simply because of their sex.

Radha also visits a middle-class doctor who’s taking her highly educated and wealthy in-laws to court for trying to force her to abort her twin girls.

During her visit to India, Radha decides to report to the police the sexual harassment she had previously faced herself. She finds herself caught up in the country’s changing judicial system – and her own experience begins to reflect the huge pressures India is facing as it attempts to take more seriously the sexual violence facing its women.