Single women in Rolpa facing domestic, social violence

ROLPA: Shanti BK of Rolpa Municipality-1 was thrown out of her house after the death of her husband in course of foreign employment in a Gulf country. Moreover, the family members blamed her for the death of her husband and she was expelled from her house despite eight years of caring for the family.

Her promise of living with her in-laws and looking after them after her husband's death was dashed. Taking a six-year-old daughter with her, she knocked the door of the court seeking justice. Although the District Court and the Appellate Court delivered her justice with the right of a share in her husband's property, she is still denied justice by the family. Even after desperately fighting for her right, she is currently staying separately at another's house.

Similarly, Neera BK of Kotgaon, Rolpa has been the victim of domestic violence ever since her husband died in a tractor accident. She had her daughter with her but was living separately from her in-laws. After the death of her husband, her in-laws denied her the accident insurance claims she was entitled to. On top of that, her in-laws took all the utensils and clothes that she had purchased with the her own earnings through hard labour. After this, she could not stay at the house any longer and went to the district headquarters seeking justice. The Single Women's Group supported her and found her work at a garment factory in Kathmandu.

Another woman, Anju Khatri of Bhawang, Rolpa was so much victimised by her alcoholic husband that she finally divorced him. Her husband used to beat and assault her almost every day. She too had been living separately. Her divorced husband died after some time, probably due to alcoholism. But she further became the victim of social violence after his death. The neighbours started talking negatively of her. The situation was such that she could no longer stay in the village and had to leave. Currently, she is working as a domestic helper in the district headquarters.

Shanti, Neera and Anju are but a few representative single women who are the victims of domestic and social violence in Rolpa district. There are many women like them who are silently bearing such violence against them.

Rolpa is one of the districts that was affected the most due to the decade-long conflict. Many people in the district lost their lives during the conflict and many women have been widowed. Moreover, an increasing number of married men from the district are going abroad for employment. Many of them work in hazardous conditions, and also lose their lives in course of work, widowing many women.

It is found that many such single women in the district are living in desperate conditions, enduring domestic and social violence on top of the grief over loss of their husbands. Human and women rights for these women seem like a far-fetched dream.

They rue that their situation has not improved even after the ground-breaking political change that has taken place in the country. The single women, who have lost their husbands to the conflict, lamented that not much has improved among their lot although their husbands sacrificed their lives for the nation and for social change.