Violence against women continues unabated

Kathmandu, November 26

Ram Devi Shrestha (name changed), 50, is assaulted by her alcoholic husband every day. Every night, her husband comes home drunk and hits her, her children, and even his own mother.

She said, “I have tried often, but I have not been able to make him quit drinking.” She said that  her husband’s extra marital affairs are the main cause of  quarrel in the family. “I have been tolerating his behaviour for the sake  of our children.”

Chandra Adhikari (name changed), 45, is frequently humiliated by her husband for being illiterate. Her parents arranged her marriage when she was 18.

“My parents could not afford to send me to school. My four siblings and I were instead engaged in weaving woollen clothes for money,” she said. She said that her husband was coerced into marrying her by his parents. Even today, he continually humiliates her and tells her that she does not deserve to be his wife.

These are few of the innumerable stories of women facing violence in various forms in our country. Women in the Tarai region often are subjected to domestic violence because of the dowry system, while rural women from other parts are subjected to violence due to poverty and illiteracy.

Recently, 21-year-old Dambara Upadhyay of Timilsina Village, Achham was found dead in the cow shed (chhaupadi) where she was staying during her menstrual period following the chhaupadi custom. As many as nine women have reportedly died in cow sheds while practicing this custom in the last nine years in Achham.

Secretary of National Women Commission Nepal Ram Prashad Bhattarai said domestic violence in different ‘levels’ occurs in different places. Although violence against women is often inflicted by men, women too inflict violence against other women.

Women’s Rehabilitation Centre recorded 793 cases of domestic violence between April 2012 to April 2013, of which 200 cases were of social violence, 256 of rape, 42 of attempted rape, 163 of murder, 22 of attempted murder, 32 of trafficking, and 55 of sexual violence.