Walter Astrada, born in Argentina in 1974, is a freelancer based in Kampala, Uganda. He described this project as “contemplating violence against women as a historic and worldwide phenomenon and my goal is to create awareness about this violence and its consequences in the life of tens of thousands of women and girls.” Travelling on a grant to India, he toured northern India and documented what he saw there.
1. VRINDAVAN: An emaciated woman rests after lunch with her housemates, inside Guild of Service, a shelter for widows in Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh, northern India).
2. VARANASI: Utma’s burnt feet as she rests on a bed inside the burn unit. She arrived at the hospital with severe burns to 100% of her body as a result of being doused in kerosene and lit on fire – the penalty for her family’s inability to pay the additional dowry.
3. ROTHAK: A woman cares for Namita, 18 years old, inside a protection home in Rothak. Namita was taken from her home in West Bengal to be sold as a wife in Haryana. She is pregnant as a result of being raped by her trafficker and suffers mental problems.
4. ROTHAK: A woman who suffers mental problems crouches in the courtyard of a protection home in Rothak. Most of the residents were rescued after being trafficked to be sold as wives or to work as prostitutes in Haryana and Delhi.
5. HARYANA: Suman, 19 years old, eats on the floor while her husband sits above on the charpoy. Born and raised in Assam, Suman was forcibly brought to Madina by a trafficker and sold to her husband for 40,000 rupees (US$ 842) at the age of 17.
6. SALEM: A nurse takes care of abandoned baby girls in the Life Line Trust Home in Salem (Tamil Nadu). In an initiative to stop female foeticide and infanticide, the government of Tamil Nadu set up cradle homes where unwanted girls can be abandoned.
7. SALEM: A group of girls sleep together at the Life Line Trust Home in Salem, (Tamil Nadu).
8. PUNJAB: A group of people dance during a wedding celebration in Ludhiana.
9. MORENA: Hakem, who is 60 years old and suffers from cancer, rests as his wife Phoolwati takes care of their grandson. The couple has 2 daughters and 6 sons. A survey reported a significant dip in the sex ratio as families move from to the second or third child.
Photos via Walter Astrada/Alexia Foundation.