Not a new phenomenon in colonial or post-colonial nations, the body’s subjugation completes its arc in rape or, at times, the threat of rape. Rape and rape threats to adivasi women and even women activists working among them rarely evoke outrage outside forested areas of states like Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand that are witness to state violence pitted against Maoist violence. Elsewhere too, caste, communal or state violence often includes sexual forms of violence as well.
“Looking at the history of places where the state is extremely violent and where adivasi and Dalit women face its brunt, I am not surprised if individuals, especially from the neo-middle class, are replicating this violence,” says Ashwani Kumar, a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. “These threats are just another form of violence related to the body. The placement agency does the same, knowing how it would affect the girls and their families.”