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Abstract

Dalits belong to the lowest caste in India; they are excluded from the four-fold Varna system of Hinduism, treated as fifth Varna “panchama”, and characterized as “untouchables”, and, consequently, they have historically and culturally suffered caste-based social exclusion from their civil and political rights. There are more than 200 million Dalits in India, and Dalit women constitute half of this population, which is about 16.3% of the total female population of India, and of this population, about three-fourths of women live in rural areas2. Dalit women’s problems are not only related to gender and economic deprivation but also discrimination related to caste, religion, and untouchability, which in turn leads to the denial of their social, economic, cultural, and political rights. Many scholars believe that Dalit women's problems are unique and distinct in many ways as they suffer gender bias, caste discrimination, and class deprivation simultaneously. They are considered vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation due to their gender and caste. They face a higher degree of violence most prominently in rural areas by the upper caste Hindus. This paper analyzes Dalit women's lives and tries to explore the real factors and situations in which Dalit women become objects of sexual exploitation and violence. A sample of 210 respondents from Delhi and outside Delhi was selected for this study. Factor loading has been used to explore the factors that determine sexual violence against Dalit women. The research employs the Pearson correlation method to explore the relationships between the variables and the regression method to investigate the intersectionality of caste, class, and gender in terms of sexual violence.

Note on the Author

Ajay Kumar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Ramanujan College, Kalkaji, New Delhi, India. He was awarded a Ph.D. by the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. His areas of interest include International Relations and Dalit Studies. He authored Understanding a Multifaceted Personality: Babasaheb Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and Dalit Panther Movement edited Indian Political Thought: Concepts and Thinkers, and co-edited Relevance of Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Today. He has several articles and book reviews to his credit in various national and international journals. He has teaching and research experience of 15 years. He has presented many papers at conferences both at home and abroad.

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