'Human rights activists becoming target of perpetrators'

HETAUDA, MAKAWANPUR: Human rights activists fighting against violence against women (VAW) are becoming targets of perpetrators lately, said a woman right activist Aarati Pathak.

"We are into this profession without ill intention. Our work is to provide justice to victims. We are in a mission against rape, VAW and human trafficking. But we are receiving even death threats," said Pathak.

Maya Lama, who works for Makawanpur district branch of Maiti Nepal, also echoed Pathak's thoughts, saying such threats have affected the work of human rights activists.

"Rape dents self-dignity of the victim deeply. Although the victim gets justice, the negative attitudes associated with rape and discrimination against the victim in the society do not subside, causing long term physical and psychological effects on the victim and her family as well," she said.

A mother, whose six-year-old daughter was raped by her school teacher recently, in Hetauda, is finding it difficult to fight and live in the society due to the negative attitude attached to the incident.

"The incident has made it difficult for my daughter (victim) and the whole family to face and live in the society," she said.

According to the District Police Office data, 16 cases of rape were lodged in the fiscal year 2069\70, which has increased to 33 cases in FY 2073/74.

Most of the perpetrators of these rape cases, with ages ranging from teenage to 80 years, have been given clean chits. Women rights activists have cited failure to collect evidences as the reason for perpetrators walking free.

Deepa Karki, In-charge of the Women and Children Service Centre of the DPO, said cases of domestic violence and rape become weaker due to failure to gather substantial evidences.