Gender-based violence: Urgency to strike hard
Gender based violence refers to the violence that is directed against a person on the basis of his/her gender or sex. It includes the acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. Especially women, girls are the victims of gender based violence. Gender based violence also include the acts of force to involve others in the activities against his/her will. Gender based violence is most prevalent in the environments where there is a lack of general respect for human rights. It is, of course, itself a human rights violation. Respecting the rights of every individual to live secure and dignified life, preventing and controlling violence occurring within family is the duty of the state. Domestic violence is but one extension of the gender based violence.
Due to the lack of the amendment in the prevailing acts and laws that state that a rape victim should file the case against the perpetrator within 35 days of the incident. The incidences of rape are increasing in the society chiefly because the political parties are not taking such matters in their prime considerations. Indifference of the political parties to such gender-based violence is working towards encouraging the perpetrators to commit such crimes without fear of punishment.
Data reveal that incidences of rape cases have been increasing over the years. The data of the past three years says that the number of such cases has increased by more than double the number that
was recorded three years earlier. Out of the entire rape cases committed throughout the country, more than 50% of such crimes are committed on girls below 16 years of
age, and girl children below 10 years of age are more vulnerable to such crimes. Police says that such crimes are hardly filed by the victims fearing exposure of their names to the society.
According to the police, it is known that rape victims come very late to them or many of the incidents are not reported because the victims try to hide them due to living in the conservative society that lashes out at the victim rather than the perpetrator/s, and also due to threats from the culprits. If such cases are concealed then the perpetrator derives further encouragement to commit the crime frequently. All these happen in the Nepalese society because of lack of awareness among the people particularly of their rights as well as due to population growth and increasing criminals tendencies, and government inaction being the foremost. Also because of less effective laws and indifference of
the law enforcement authorities, rape cases are
Rape cases mainly occur in secluded places and are not reported to the police. It is seen that many reports are filed only after 35 days. 35 days, in fact, is not sufficient time to take any action and so the state should provide sufficient time for effective investigation. According to the police, some victims come to register complaints in the fourth
or fifth month of the pregnancy following the rape. These happen due to fear, lack of awareness, shame and insecurity.
It is said that rape victims are victimized repeatedly if they report it to the police. The police and court proceedings may be as traumatic as the offence itself. Instead of being treated as victims, the police and law enforcement agencies treat them as if they themselves are the culprits. It is especially more traumatic for the victims when they return to their home as well as community. It is also seen that they often lack the support of family members and the victims also may commit suicide. Only legal provisions do not help the victims receive justice, family support well as from the society is a must.
The provision to file a case against the perpetrator within 35 days needs to be amended with immediate effect in order to enhance timely justice to the victims and punish the offenders. In the context of Nepal, provisions should be extended to file the case to at least one year so that victims can feel that perpetrators cannot escape punishment. However, such offences are critical and need to be treated in a special way.
fail to prove the crime in the court owing to social and family restrictions. It is, therefore, necessary that the court or any other concerned authority pay special attention and priority to investigate and pass verdicts on such cases.
Offenders are encouraged to commit such crimes because most of the victims are scared to file cases against them. Mostly threats from the perpetrators,
social restrictions etc are the principal reasons behind such cases not being
registered with the concerned authorities.
On the other hand, even if a case is reported, the handling of the case does not befit the social prestige of the victims, mainly because they are women. Because of these reasons, such cases should be handled secretly so that the victims do not get exposed to the society and can feel secure and be sure that they can procure justice without feeling that their social prestige would be harmed.