Report: One Indian Woman Killed Every Hour Over Outlawed Dowry Custom

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 3 2013 6:29 PM

Report: One Indian Woman Killed Every Hour Over Outlawed Dowry Custom

Indian Muslim women hold posters during a protest march against the gang-rape of a female photographer in Mumbai on August 26, 2013.


Over the last year, there has been a surge in high profile cases of violence against women in India, particularly cases of rape. The increasing awareness of the treatment of women in India does not mean that abuse is a new problem for the country, but one that is now, more than ever, out in the open.

Adding to the bleak picture of the treatment of women in India, the Indian government released its national crime statistics last week finding that 8,233 women were killed in the country last year due to disputes over dowry payments. That’s equivalent to almost one death every hour. The conviction rate for such crimes was 32 percent.


Paying a dowry, which usually amounts to a cash payment from the bride’s family to the family of the groom, is officially illegal in India. But, it is a custom that persists across all walks of life in India. “Higher socio-economic strata is equally involved in such practices. Even the highly educated class of our society do not say no to dowry. It runs deep into our social system,” New Delhi deputy police commissioner, Suman Nalwa, told the Press Trust of India.

“Dowry demands often continue for years after the wedding,” reports the AP. “Each year, thousands of young Indian women are doused with gasoline and burned to death because the groom or his family felt the dowry was inadequate.” "Marriages have become commercialized. It's like a business proposition where the groom and his family make exorbitant demands. And the wealthier the family, the more outrageous the demands," women’s rights activist, Ranjana Kumari, told the AP.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They just aren’t ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 2:11 PM Spare the Rod What Charles Barkley gets wrong about corporal punishment and black culture.
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.