Parliament unanimously passes stricture on VAW

Kathmandu, August 24

The House of Representatives today unanimously passed stricture on violence against women (VAW), five months after it was registered by 22 lawmakers.

Lawmakers supporting the stricture had put forth four demands in the stricture: people’s representatives of all tiers of the government should join the campaign against VAW and should commit to punishing the perpetrators of VAW; victims should be paid compensation and provided free treatment; all sections of society, including civil society members and media representatives, should join the campaign against VAW on the designated days and a suitable message should be incorporated in school curriculum to minimise incidents of VAW and to discourage  wrong social practices.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal, who is also a senior advocate, told THT that the stricture would be binding on the government. “It will make the state accountable and help create awareness in society against the evils of VAW. Unless society takes VAW seriously, it cannot be eradicated,” she added.

More than 30 lawmakers spoke in today’s debate on the stricture highlighting increased VAW, including sexual assaults against women. All the lawmakers said there should be enough mechanisms and provisions to ensure justice to the victims’ families. Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Binda Pandey said women were scared of men because of predatory behaviour of some men against women.

“Our daughters are saying that they cannot trust men. This is a dangerous situation,” she said.

She said girls were being victimised by teachers, neighbours and even by their own relatives.

Speaking in the House, Bhusal said patriarchy and inequality were at the root of VAW. She said in some cases perpetrators enjoyed political patronage.  “Women of all age groups — from minor girls to elderly women — are being victimised,” she said.

Lawmaker Yashoda Gurung Subedi said the government should do everything to control VAW; Rekha Sharma said there should be social awareness in society against the evils of VAW; Durga Paudel said the government should rehabilitate VAW victims and it should also provide compensation to the victims and Radha Kumari Gywali said the Prime Minister’s Office should establish a new mechanism to address VAW.

“Such a mechanism can make immediate intervention after victims inform the mechanism of any incidents of VAW,” said Gywali.

Lawmakers also said the stricture was aimed at spreading awareness among young men about lawful conduct because in most VAW cases, young and adolescents were found to be the perpetrators.