Nepal | October 30, 2020

Make women’s safety a priority


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There has been a sudden surge in violence against girls and women, especially in the form of rape, following the Covid-19 pandemic. In Nepal, more than 1,203 girls have been raped during this pandemic, with more than five such cases occurring every day. It is heart wrenching to go through such news stories every morning, with questions arising about the safety of girls in the country where human values have disappeared, patriarchal ideologies lie deeply engraved, and there is no strict punishment for the culprits.

Still many more cases go unreported or without justice being done to the victims, with the culprits roaming around freely with no feeling of guilt or remorse.

People have stopped believing that virtue will win over iniquity, and they face stress, worried if they might not be the next victim. Mainly, an attitude of indifference towards the culprits might be encouraging violence against women. To provide justice to the victims and prevent violence and discrimination against girls and women, both men and women should join hands to compel the government to hand over the strictest punishment to the culprits.

Somewhere our education system that is based on unhealthy competition might also be responsible for fostering crimes in society. The education system, thus, needs transformation.

Emphasis on moral values and spiritualism will widen the horizon of both boys and girls and help them perceive the world differently.

Our education system should include subject matter like ‘role of women in society’, ‘gender equality’ and ‘spirituality’ in the curriculum right from the primary level. Education should not be limited to enhancing the intelligence of students only.

Learning about moral values is equally important.

Students should also have an opportunity to put theoretical knowledge into practice. Girls should be provided with self-defense techniques to protect themselves when they face violence. In addition, parents should also be provided with relevant counseling about rearing children. In this way, gender stereotypes gets deconstructed and traditional patriarchal beliefs will minimise over time.

This pandemic has brought many frustrations to the people due to the economic hardships and hunger, forcing them to involve in crimes like domestic violence, rape, theft and robbery.

The government must work for the welfare of its citizens by providing them employment opportunities. Poverty breeds crime, therefore there is an urgency for the government to address the problem with a workable solution. The safety, security and independence of girls and women should be a priority of all.

A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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