India has so for been at the receiving end at the hands of the media, particularly the western press, for its alleged atrocities on the fairer sex. While, in India we read of isolated cases of killing of girl child, the male obduracy regarding Women’sBill in parliament, women being killed for dowry, cases of sexual harassment, the picture on the other side of the world is worst. Western women unlike in India had to struggle for centuries for equal rights. Political power is still a mirage for them in most parts of Europe and America. Recently a report published in The Hindu newspaper reveals that women in the West are subjected to bashing?a report which the western press would either ignore or publish in some corner of the inside pages. According to a report released by Amnesty International, one in every three women suffers violence in her lifetime in Europe. In France, six women die each month at the hands of men who profess to love them. In Spain, 100 or so women are killed by their spouses or male friends with over 30,000 complaints of severe physical violence lying in Court. In Switzerland, one of the richest countries of Europe, nearly 20 per cent of the women suffer physical and psychological abuse. In Britain, one woman is killed by her partner every three days, one woman in four is subjected to domestic violence and attacks on women account for a quarter of all violent crime. Despite media campaigns and shocking statistics, domestic violence continues to be one of Europe’smost under-reported crimes. Strangely enough, in France, the news of film actress, Marie Trintrignant being beaten to death by her lover, singer Bertrand Cantal became the front-page news. Lilliane Dalligaud, Director of VIFF-SOS Femmes?a French association against marital violence?has said, ?We have a supposedly free press, a police and justice system reported to be among the best in the world, several social and societal safety nets meant to protect our citizens. Yet, violence against women continues unabated in France, with an average of six women per month dying as a result. The unfortunate and much publicised case of Marie Trintrignant has also highlighted the fact that violence against women is not restricted to a ?low social milieu? as many would have us believe. It affects every class of women?the poor and under-educated as much as the rich and professionally qualified.? The National Federation of Women’sSolidarity has revealed that a study undertaken by the forensic services of the Paris hospital system shows that over 609 women are killed annually by their partners in Paris alone. ?We have no idea of how many such killings take place in the provinces. No statistics exist on the number of women maimed or mutilated nor how many endure years of terror.? The study found that women between 20 and 24 years of age were the most affected in France. The World Organisation against Torture has denounced gang rapes known as tournantes or ?passarounds? in which teenage girls or young women are handed over by their boyfriends to their buddies. Spain has one of the worst records in Europe for domestic violence with over 100 women battered to death annually by their spouses and over 30,000 complaints of domestic violence. A woman Isabel Llinas lay in a pool of blood with 15 stab wounds inflicted by her estranged husband, who later hanged himself in a prison cell. Till the mid-seventies under the Franco dictatorship, women did not enjoy equal rights and belonged either to her father or her husband. They enjoy equality on paper but in reality the situation is stark different. One 60-year old woman, Ana Orantes had been beaten by her husband throughout her long married life and went on television to denounce her husband several days later. The plight of African and Asian women in France is no different. A Frenchwoman of Algerian descent, called Amina has stated that there is unimaginable violence against immigrant ghettos. ?Our fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, all beat us.? Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores Nor Slaves), an activist group set up by a young second-generation immigrant called Fedia Amare, after the burning to death of a 19-year old girl of North African descent, in October 2002 has come out in support of a controversial law banning the wearing of Islamic headscarves by girl students in state-run schools and decried women who have marched in favour of the right to wear the veil. Effort of such radical women was countered by several thousand Muslim women who have demanded the right to wear the traditional headscarf, who even took out processions to protest against the French government’sdecision to disallow wearing of veils by immigrant women. Women living with abusers often find that being submissive escalates violence towards them. Women’sorganisations have been telling such women to break this psychological dependence and get out of the love-hate bind. A woman can now obtain a restraining order within 72 hours of filing a complaint. Furthermore, domestic violence in Europe, as elsewhere in the world, also affects future generations. Children who witness abuse of the mother, are likely to inflict abuse on their spouses or commit other crimes. There is a permanent shortage of ghettos and legal advice for battered women. What is most ironical is that March 8, as every year, this year too was celebrated as International Women’sDay throughout the world, but have we, for a moment, stopped to ponder on what was there to celebrate on this day? Instead of celebrating, we should have reflected on the difficult terrain that still lies ahead for the majority of women before they are treated as equal to men, and are equally safe and secure as their male counterparts. What is worse is that while the western and Indian press continue to play ?hide and reveal? respectively on women related issues, it is time for the victimised segment of the society to raise its voice and create awareness on its importance as much as that of man in the social fabric of a nation. Here it would not be out of place to quote Chief Minister Uma Bharti of Madhya Pradesh, who, at a function organised at Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, in Bhopal, had remarked, ?Given an opportunity lndian women have the potential to show the path to the entire world.? According to a report released by Amnesty International, one in every three women suffers violence in her lifetime in Europe. Despite media campaigns and shocking statistics, domestic violence continues to be one of Europe’smost under-reported crimes.