Report paints grim picture of women's condition at home

KATHMANDU: Married women are more vulnerable to domestic violence perpetrated by their next of kin, especially husbands, recent statistics made available by the Nepal Police have revealed.

The data echo what women rights activists have been crying hoarse for decades now.

The report says that domestic violence against women is rampant and that the perpetrators of violence were women’s own relatives.

A total of 555 women, who lodged complaints with the police between mid-July, 2009 to mid-February, 2010 reported that they were victims of domestic violence of various forms and the main culprits were their husbands, fathers, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and “second” wives.

Husbands topped the list of perpetrators with 477 women registering complaints against them, while sisters-in-law accounted for 16 cases followed by the fathers and mothers-in-law with 26 incidents reported against them. Second wives also accounted for 36 cases.

Most cases were believed to have gone unreported for fear of what society would say about them and retribution from their kin.

A total of 529 married women were witness to physical and mental violence, polygamy and food and clothes deprivation.

The report puts the number of widows who were victims at 26. There were 256 cases of physical violence, 162 cases of food and clothes deprivation, 31 cases of insult, 31 cases of allegations and 79 cases of polygamy. It also underscores the extent and severity of violence against women, especially married ones. Interestingly, unmarried women reportedly did not suffer domestic violence during the period.

These figures paint a grim picture of the condition of women who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of husbands and other family members.

According to the data, the number of women aged between 26 and 35 accounted for 227 cases, followed by 177 cases of women between 19 and 25 and those above-46 years accounted for 91 cases.

The data also reveal that illiterate women were more likely to experience domestic violence as compared to literates. According to the data, 388 illiterate women said they were exposed to various forms of violence.

By profession, 477 women (agriculture), 42 (labour), 15 (business), 11 (career) and 10 (study) experienced domestic violence.