India: Sisters Sentenced to be Raped for Brother’s “Crime”

‘I can’t sleep, I’m very scared’: One of two Indian sisters sentenced to rape after ‘untouchable’ brother ran off with a married woman from higher caste reveals her terrifying ordeal

  • Meenakshi Kumari, 23, was sentenced to rape alongside 15-year-old sister
  • Feared un-elected council of upper caste men ordered savage punishment 
  • Brother ran away with married woman with whom he had two-year affair 
  • Family has appealed to India’s Supreme Court and Prime Minister for help 
'I can't sleep, I'm very scared': Meenakshi Kumari, 23, has described how she has been unable to sleep or leave the house for fear of the village elders, who condemned her to be raped after her brother ran off with a married woman from a higher caste

‘I can’t sleep, I’m very scared’: Meenakshi Kumari, 23, has described how she has been unable to sleep or leave the house for fear of the village elders, who condemned her to be raped after her brother ran off with a married woman from a higher caste

One of two sisters sentenced to be raped in India after their brother ran off with a married woman from a higher caste has spoken out about her fear.

Meenakshi Kumari, 23, has described how she has been unable to sleep or leave the house for fear of the village elders – who sentenced her and her 15-year-old sister to rape – sending someone to deliver the punishment.

‘I can’t sleep, I’m very scared,’ she said from a secret location in Delhi, 30 miles from their village Sankrot, in Uttar Pradesh, central India.

‘How will we ever return home or to our village? If we ever return they will harm dus or rape us. If not today then in the future.

‘Jats never forget and they will not forget this humiliation. They want their revenge. Loving someone is not wrong.’

Meenakshi and her little sister were with their family in Delhi for a wedding when a neighbour called and told them not to return to their village.

The neighbour warned that the un-elected village council, Khap panchayat, dominated by the upper caste ‘Jat’ men, had ordered the two sisters be raped and paraded naked with their faces blackened as punishment for their brother’s actions.

Their brother, Ravi Kumar, 25, from the Dalit caste – historically known as ‘untouchables’ – had been in a relationship with 21-year-old Krishna from the Jat caste for almost two years.

How will we ever return home or to our village? If we ever return they will harm us or rape us. If not today then in the future.
Meenakshi Kumari, 23

When both families discovered the relationship, they did all they could to keep the two lovers apart.

The siblings’ older brother Sumit Kumar, 28, who works as a constable in the Delhi Police, told his younger brother to end the relationship immediately, as they would never be together.

‘We belong to a lower caste, they are from an upper caste,’ he said.

‘I told him this relationship could never work. We are treated as untouchables but he didn’t listen to me and now we are paying for it.’

Ravi met Krishna two years ago, when she joined his computer classes for children in Khekada, Uttar Pradesh.

They exchanged phone numbers and quickly fell in love. They were on the phone to each other all the time and arranged covert meetings in secret locations.

But when Ravi’s father Naik Dharampal Singh, 52, heard of the relationship he ordered it to end immediately.

Even though Ravi ended the relationship, the pair couldn’t bear to be apart.

Eventually Krishna’s parents started looking for prospective husbands for her but she refused.

‘It was hard for my brother but he understood the situation,’ Sumit said.

‘Her family knew about their relationship before the marriage. They beat their daughter a lot and gave my brother warnings many times.

‘In the end my brother told her to go ahead with the marriage, she had to. She went ahead with the marriage in Haryana but she was very unhappy. They treated her like a maid.

‘So she left and returned home. And that’s when she and my brother started their relationship again.’

Ravi and Krishna had eloped twice before but had returned. Each time Sumit claimed her family beat her.

‘We made him understand it was dangerous. At the end of the day it’d be our family who would suffer. He understood what he was doing, he knew the risks but love took over.

I told him this relationship could never work. We are treated as untouchables but he didn’t listen to me and now we are paying for it.

Older brother Sumit Kumar, 28

‘When the girl got in touch with him he just couldn’t contain his emotions. We are now helpless. His future is ruined completely and our family is in danger.’

Krishna’s family was so furious that the couple had eloped again they told the police Ravi was involved with drugs. When they were caught in Delhi at the end of May, Ravi was arrested and has been in Meerut Jail ever since.

Meenakshi and her family were already in Delhi when a neighbour called them to tell them it’s not safe to return to their village called Baghpat, in Uttar Pradesh, 30 miles from Delhi. It has approximately 250 Dalits compared to 7,000 Jats.

Meenakshi said: ‘My father got a call from a neighbour and told us not to come back. They said that the Khap panchayat – that are all Jats – took the decision to rape my sister and me and parade us naked. They want revenge.

‘It is wrong. We did nothing wrong so why should my sister and me be punished. They loved each other and it is they who decided to go. Why should we suffer?

‘We have not left the house, as we are scared they might send someone to attack us. I am finding it very difficult to cope. I am very scared.

‘People today are still living in the caste system; it’s the root of everything here. Right now I do not have any hopes, our future is ruined.’

Family bond: Meenakshi (pictured) and her little sister were with their family in Delhi for a wedding when a neighbour called and told them not to return to their village, as the village elders had ordered their punishment 

Family bond: Meenakshi (pictured) and her little sister were with their family in Delhi for a wedding when a neighbour called and told them not to return to their village, as the village elders had ordered their punishment

Sumit said: ‘I am still in shock that the Khap panchayat could be so disgusting. I knew it was going to be bad, I knew our family would be in trouble but I never expected this. The situation is getting worse and I do not see any hope.’

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that these village councils – known as panchayats – are illegal, but they continue to operate across India.

The family has appealed to the Supreme court for protection and Sumit has written to the Prime minister, Chief minister, Human Rights commission, schedule caste commission but no one has come forward to help yet.

Ravi got bail on June 26 but the family made the decision to keep him in prison because his life would be in danger if he was out on the streets.

Horrific tradition: India’s Supreme Court has ruled that these village councils – known as panchayats – are illegal, but they continue to operate across India. Pictured, the Ganges River in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 

Horrific tradition: India’s Supreme Court has ruled that these village councils – known as panchayats – are illegal, but they continue to operate across India. Pictured, the Ganges River in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Family’s lawyer Rahul Tyagi, 39, said: ‘We’ve been everywhere asking for action but nothing has been done. So now were are at the Supreme Court.

Where caste is concerned it is wrong, and this is all based on caste. But there is no caste in love.
Meenakshi Kumari, 23

‘We’ve asked a few things. No one has seen the girl so we are asking that the girl be produced before the court so we can ensure her safety and well being. We’ve also asked for an independent investigation into the false accusation of the boy.

‘And thirdly, a case should be registered against UP police for torturing the Dalit family and finally some security so the family can return to their home. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will come down heavily on these cases; I have every faith in the judicial system of this country.

‘These cases happen often in rural India. After media attention local politicians have come forward but still the family are in danger. But these cases would not happen in this country if the police act appropriately and did their job. The government officials have a duty to stop such atrocities.’

Meenakshi said that no one has seen Krishna since May and it is believed she is now allegedly saying that Ravi and Sumit held her captive for 10 days in Delhi and raped her.

Meenakshi said: ‘She is now saying that my elder bother Sumit and Ravi raped her for 10 days. She is saying that Ravi told her that he would get her a job in Delhi because his brother is in the police so she came with him and there they forced her to have sex.

‘But they have pressurised her. I know she loved my brother a lot. Loving someone is not wrong. But the girl is Jat and we are the untouchables.

‘Where caste is concerned it is wrong, and this is all based on caste. But there is no caste in love.’

Bernie Sanders: Fighting for Women’s Rights



It is a national disgrace that women only earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. The gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. Today, African American women earn just 64 cents for every dollar a white male earns, while the figure for Hispanic women is just 54 cents. As president, Sen. Sanders will sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law to end wage discrimination based on gender.


Sen. Sanders has consistently fought against Republican attacks on the fundamental rights of women to control their own bodies. As president, Sen. Sanders would expand, not cut, funding for Planned Parenthood, the Title X family planning program, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.


As president, Sen. Sanders will only nominate Supreme Court justices who understand that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and recognize the rights of women to have access to family planning services.


Sen. Sanders is working on a plan to make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every American, regardless of income. It is unacceptable that the cost of a quality childcare program is out of reach for millions of Americans.


According to the most recent statistics, women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would significantly boost the wages of more than 15 million women and help close the gender wage gap.


The federal tipped minimum wage of just $2.13 an hour hasn’t been raised since 1991. More than two-thirds of tipped workers are women. Increasing the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023 would lift millions of women out of poverty and significantly reduce the gender pay gap.


As president, Sen. Sanders would end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee paid leave to workers. The Republicans talk a lot about “family values.” Well, it is not a family value to force the mother of a new born baby to go back to work a few days after she gives birth, because she doesn’t have the money to stay home and bond with her baby. That is not a family value. That is an insult to everything that we know a family is about. Sen. Sanders would require employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. At a time when over 65 percent of women work more than 40 hours a week, we must require employers to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation. And, we must require employers to provide at least one week of paid sick leave so that women can stay home to take care of a sick child, among other things.


As the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, Sen. Sanders helped lead the effort in the Senate against Republican attempts to cut the WIC program that provides nutrition assistance to pregnant mothers, women, and infants. As president, Sen. Sanders would substantially increase funding for this program so that every low-income mother and her children receive the nutrition they need to live healthy lives.


As president, Sen. Sanders would fight for a Medicare for All single-payer healthcare system to make healthcare a right for all Americans. If the United States joined every major country on earth and enacted a universal healthcare program, women would benefit the most. Today, women have much higher healthcare expenses than men and pay a greater portion of their healthcare costs out of their own pockets. Women make up two-thirds of the low-wage workforce and only about 23 percent of low-wage jobs provide health insurance. It is time for a Medicare for All single-payer healthcare system.


As president, Sen. Sanders will fight to expand Social Security benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments to keep up with rising medical and prescription drug costs; and expand the minimum Social Security benefit to lift seniors out of poverty. Women will benefit the most by expanding Social Security. More than twice as many elderly women lived in poverty than men in 2013. Without Social Security, nearly half of all elderly women would be living in poverty.

Bernie Sanders: Fighting for Women’s Rights

Zimbabwe Child Brides Fight Back in Court

Across sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of women are married as children.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of women are married as children.

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Two former child brides have taken Zimbabwe’s government to court in a ground-breaking bid to get child marriages declared illegal and unconstitutional.

Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi say child marriage, which is rife in Zimbabwe, is a form of child abuse which traps girls in lives of poverty and suffering.

“I’ve faced so many challenges. My husband beat me. I wanted to stay in school but he refused. It was very, very terrible,” said Tsopodzi, a mother of one, who was married at 15.

“I want to take this action to make a difference,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Harare on Tuesday. “There are a lot of children getting married.”

Data published last year indicates one third of girls in Zimbabwe marry before their 18th birthday and 5 percent before they turn 15.

Child marriage deprives girls of education and opportunities, jeopardizes their health and increases the risks of exploitation, sexual violence, domestic abuse and death or serious injury in childbirth.

In their statements to the Constitutional Court, Tsopodzi and Mudzuru, now 19 and 20, say Zimbabwe’s Marriage Act is discriminatory because it sets the minimum age at 16 for girls and 18 for boys. The Customary Marriage Act sets no minimum age.

They say the law should be brought into line with Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution as well as regional and international treaties banning child marriage.

The 2013 constitution says every child under 18 has the right to parental care, education and protection from “economic and sexual exploitation”.

It does not set a minimum marriage age, but states that no one should be forced to marry against their will and indicates that 18 is the minimum age for starting a family.


Poverty is the driving force behind child marriage in Zimbabwe. Parents often marry girls off so they have one less mouth to feed. Dowry payments may be a further incentive.

Some communities also see child marriage as a way of protecting girls from having premarital sex.

In her affidavit, Mudzuru described how child marriage and poverty create a vicious circle.

“Young girls who marry early and often in poor families are then forced to produce young children in a sea of poverty and the cycle begins again,” she stated.

Mudzuru, who was married at 16 and had two children before she was 18, said her life was “hell” and she spent her days trapped in drudgery.

“My life is really tough. Raising a child when you are a child yourself is hard,” she said by phone from her home in Harare. “I should be going to school.”

The girls’ lawyer, former finance minister Tendai Biti, presented the legal challenge in January.

Beatrice Savadye, who heads rights group ROOTS which is backing the ground-breaking case, said it had generated a lot of interest both inside Zimbabwe and in other countries in the region.

She said it was unclear when the court would give its decision, but that it had to rule within six months.

Globally, some 15 million girls are married off every year. Across sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of women are married as children.


Tortured Sex Slave Rescued by Truck Driver

Tortured Sex Slave Saved By Trucker From This Iowa Couple

Tortured Sex Slave Saved By Trucker From This Iowa Couple

A tortured sex slave, later revealed as a 20-year-old female victim, was saved by trucker Kevin Kimmel, according to WTVR. Kimmel saw the suspicious activity at a New Kent Pilot gas station and truck lot in January, and reported it to Richmond, VA, police because, “It was a no brainer what was going on.”

Kimmel, a veteran truck driver speaking about the incident for the first time, didn’t know what happened until he saw “the gruesome details through the news.” According to WTVR, what was allegedly going on was abuse, fraud, forced prostitution, and torture, among other crimes.

Kimmel said he became suspicious when he saw the victim peeking out from behind dark curtains in an RV and, in what may have been an awkward moment, thought that the black curtains didn’t appear to be, “a families RV [sic], you know.”

A guy come up and knock on the door then go inside the Pilot–then quickly came back and knocked again, all of the sudden the thing was rocking and rolling.”

That was when he called the local sheriff’s department in Virginia, who, according to Daily Mail, eventually found Aldair Hodza and Laura Sorenson inside the RV, allegedly holding the victim hostage, who appeared malnourished and tortured.

She reportedly suffered from various wounds including burns on her abdomen, groin, and her back consistent with, “being struck and stamped with a hot metal key.” She also suffered wounds on her feet that were, “consistent with nails hammered into her flesh,” according to News & Advance.

Police charged the Iowa couple with various federal crimes ranging from coercion to sex trafficking by force after they uncovered that the two had turned the alleged victim into a tortured sex slave and forced her to service “clients” as part of an online prostitution ring. According to the Daily Mail, police found photos of the alleged victim being tortured. Some photos depicted the alleged victim bound and gagged while nude and others depicted her getting bleach sprayed into open and bleeding wounds.

The couple, Sorensen, 36 and Hodza, 31, are accused of taking the victim hostage on Christmas Eve in 2014 and forcing her into prostitution. They allegedly threatened to kill the victim and her family, according to the News & Advance.

The accused couple likely used these threats to scare the alleged victim, forcing her to comply with their demands.

A common tactic used by abusers, one example would be the case of Officer Stephen Maiorino from Boynton Beach, who threatened to kill a 20-year-old rape victim after allegedly victimizing her at gunpoint on the hood of his police car in October, 2014, according to the Palm Beach Post.

According to News & Advance, the victim also accuses the Iowa couple of denying her food and water during the trip from Iowa to Virginia. Also from Iowa, the alleged victim also states her alleged abusers expected her turn all the money made as a tortured sex slave over to them for their own food and gas for the RV, a 37-foot Sun Voyager.

According to WVTR, Kimmel said, “I’m just happy I helped her.”

The couple is expected to appear in a federal court in Virginia, according to News & Advance, as federal courts prosecute sex trafficking cases much more harshly than state level courts do in Virginia.

Hundreds of Child Soldiers Released by South Sudan Militia

South Sudan’s Cobra Faction Releases Hundreds of Child Soldiers


Hundreds of child soldiers were released in South Sudan on Tuesday, UNICEF said, as part of a broader plan to free up to 3,000 young fighters from the country’s civil war.

The release of 300 kids in Pibor, Jonglei State, is part of a peace deal between the South Sudan Democratic Army (SSDA) Cobra Faction and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

An initial 280 children, aged between 11 and 17, were released late January. UNICEF said between 2,000 and 3,000 should be freed from the Cobra Faction as it integrates into the SPLA.

The use of child soldiers in South Sudan surged after civil war broke out in December 2013, with UNICEF estimating the number to have peaked somewhere around 12,000. Violence was so rife that many of the children joined the Cobra Faction for protection, according to UNICEF spokeswoman Doune Porter.

“They thought they would be safer in the ranks of the military where they were surrounded by people with guns, and of course many of them were trained in how to use guns,” she said.

However, Porter said the children found life extraordinarily difficult were now “delighted” to be leaving the Cobra Faction.

“I don’t want to be a soldier,” one boy, aged 12, told UNICEF. “I will end up with nothing by being a soldier and I know one day I’ll get killed if I continue being a soldier. First, I want to go to school, then later I want to study medicine.”

A South Sudanese child soldier hides his face with his hands.

“Buret,” 11, the day before his release from the Cobra Faction in late January.

Cobra Faction Lieutenant General Khalid Butrus Bura said there was no longer any need for the children to be among their ranks.

“We want to change the mind-set of the community, so that a father will not need to buy gun and give it to a 10-year-old child so he can take care of the cattle,” he told UNICEF. “We want to change that practice so that the community can send their children to school rather than taking to a gun.”

Porter said the children would now receive counseling and a much sought after education.

“Many of them have never been to school before,” she said. “Most of them can’t read or write and they are so excited about starting their education.”

UNICEF estimates more than 1.9 million people have been displaced since the civil war broke out, with more than 1.4 million currently displaced within South Sudan. More than half of those internally displaced people are estimated to be children.

Japan: Man Allegedly Rapes 100 Women, Sells Videos of Attacks to Porn Sites

Japanese police  in Sapporo city, Hokkaido

Japanese police patrol in Sapporo city, Hokkaido. Officers have confirmed at least 39 victims, aged from their teens to their 40s, but the actual number is thought to be far higher. Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA

By Ann Colwell and Will Ripley, CNN

(CNN)Police say around 100 women in Japan who thought they were participating in a sleep study were actually drugged and raped, their attacks recorded and sold to porn sites.

Authorities arrested 54-year-old Hideyuki Noguchi, after one of the women saw herself in a video online and came forward. Police investigated and arrested Noguchi, who has been charged with incapacitated rape, according to Chiba Prefecture Police spokesperson Satoshi Kono.

Authorities say Noguchi has told them the number of victims is about 100. Officers have confirmed at least 39 of those victims, and have filed charges in many of those cases already. More women could come forward.

The assaults allegedly began in 2012 when police say Noguchi took out a newspaper ad seeking participants for a sleep study. The ad sought women from their teens through their 40s and offered compensation for their time.

Noguchi would then arrange for women to meet him at a hotel or a hot springs inn, according to authorities. He would allegedly tell women he planned to test their blood pressure while they slept. He reportedly told women he was a doctor, but police could not confirm that.

But authorities say Noguchi has no medical training and the study was merely a ruse to isolate women, drug them with sleeping pills and alcohol, assault them and film the attacks.

Kono said Noguchi sold the videos to unnamed pornographic filmmakers and adult websites, making around $100,000.

Very little local coverage

The case of the assaults has drawn international headlines — but failed to resonate much in the local press.

Roland Kelts, University of Tokyo professor and author of “Japanamerica,” says the lack of media coverage has been “bizarre.”

“Usually sexual crimes are reported pretty avidly in Japan, especially in the tabloids,” said Kelts. ” The media sensationalizes these stories just like it does in the West.”

Kelts points to the recent kidnapping crisis and subsequent murders of ISIS hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, which have dominated Japan’s national media headlines. There’s also another grisly story gripping Japan about a murder of an elderly woman.

After such a gruesome news cycle, Kelts says the media just “might not have the tastes” to cover the rapes, as they normally might do.

What’s more, police have released very little information about the alleged attacks, citing the victims’ privacy. Authorities have granted no interviews on camera.

Information or exclusive interviews on big stories is often given to newspaper beat reporters in Japan. But even they have been unusually short on information regarding Noguchi’s alleged crimes.

Recent changes to Japan’s laws that regulate the classification of sensitive information have tightened punishments for leaking information.

The so-called “state secrets” law was drafted under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and took effect late last year. The law imposes prison sentences of five to 10 years for leaking state secrets, depending on the position of the leaker.

The law has been criticized by Internet activists and groups including Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.

A 99% conviction rate

Noguchi will most likely receive a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, if convicted, according to Jin Imaeda, an attorney and former prosecutor in Japan.

For the type of assault Noguchi is accused of, a conviction would lead to a maximum sentence of 20 years for a single victim, and 30 years if the number of victims is two or more.

If convicted, Noguchi could be eligible for parole after serving 80% of that term, or 24 years, Imaeda said.

The Japanese legal system does not sentence criminals to life imprisonment.

Japan has a general conviction rate of more than 99%, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Japanese prosecutors will often wait to bring charges against a suspect until they are certain they have a conviction. Thus, if charges are brought against someone for a crime in Japan, there is a near guarantee that he or she will be found guilty.