Call to extend time limit to report rape cases

Kathmandu, October 25:

The 35-day time limit given by the law to report incidents of rape should be done away with to make sure the perpetrators are punished, an advocate said today.

In Nepal, a rape victim must lodge a complaint with the police within 35 days of the incident and commence a lawsuit.

Meera Dhungana, an advocate at the Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), said, “Very few rape incidents are reported to the police due to social repercussions,

humiliation and lack of knowledge of legal provisions pertaining to rape. Most of the incidents go unreported due to the limited time given to file a case.”

Advocate Dhungana said there has been a growing trend in many national jurisdictions to extend the statute of time limitation for rape, or to do away with time limitation.

“If the victims are minors, they have no knowledge about sexual harassments, rape and do not even narrate such incidents to anyone. Their guardians make a guess from their strange behaviours and physical injuries. Therefore, it may take more than 35 days to file cases against perpetrators,” said DSP at the Women’s Cell, Kalimati, Meera Chaudhary.

Indira Basnet, a 29-year-old woman from Sindhupalchowk, has accused Prem Bahadur Shrestha, a former vice-chairperson of ward number 9 Gati VDC, of subjecting her to sexual harassment and rape.

Basnet said Shrestha has raped her three times in the last three years and been harassing her.

Indira said Prem Bahadur raped her on June 28 when they were working on separate paddy fields. After continuous threats from Shrestha, she left the place and arrived in Kathmandu on August 3 and took shelter at Saathi, an organisation working for women.

Along with Saathi’s team, Indira visited Sindhupalchowk on August 6. She could not file a complaint against Shrestha at the Bharebise Area Police Office because the time limit had expired.