It has been more than 40 days since a 13-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur. Police investigations so far have drawn a blank. And we have come across various reports in the meantime of rape crimes. Nine-month-old children to 90-year-old old women are falling prey to sexual predators. The increase in rape crimes is a shame to every society and country.
Whose fault is it? Is it the fault of that innocent child or the fault of our grandmothers who have lived long?
In a review by Hirachan and Limbu, 2016, it is observed that out of 55 cases in four years, the majority of rape victims were of 13-15 year olds (46%) followed by > 20 years (11%) and 10-12 year olds (7%). Similarly, According to Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2016, seven per cent of women aged 15-49 had faced sexual violence at some point of their lives.
The physical, mental and psychological trauma the victims face takes a toll on their lives. According to a latest report derived from the Women’s Foundation of Nepal, a woman is raped every 54 minutes somewhere in Nepal. Some cases come to light, while others are buried, as they are never reported. Whose fault is it that rape is slowly developing as a culture in Nepali society?
The aftermath of rape is even more brutal due to existing social stigma. There is also a tendency of further victimising the girls and women who are sexually assaulted. This is wrong. This leads to even suicides. Many a time victims are punished for the crimes they never committed, and the actual perpetrators walk free. The state of impunity must end. As the perpetrators roam around freely, there is always a danger that another girl or woman could fall prey to them. There is an urgent need to impose strict punishments for these criminals by thoroughly understanding the profound consequences a rape crime can have on the victims.
It’s high time we continued to raise our voice against rape crimes. There is no time to sit idle; we have to speak up—every moment, every day, round the year.
Bringing the culprits behind bars can never compensate the pain and sufferings a victim and the family members go through. If the culprit can rape ferociously, why is there no unsparing punishment, for example death penalty, as some countries have put in place?
Apart from that, we need a wide-ranging approach to fight rape crimes. Rape must end.
A version of this article appears in print on September 06, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.