Taming the beast

The issue of violence against women seems to be receiving the coverage these days that did not exist a few years back despite the fact that it was recognised as a social evil. The hush-hush manner in which domestic violence is taken up shows the indifference attached to it though certain laws are in place. The complaints with the law enforcement agencies often yield very little partly because they are retracted by the women complainants due to threats from the other party or because some form of behind the scenes agreement is reached. However, it is a temporary respite and the vulnerable women suffer at both ends, enduring violence at home or filing a complaint at the police station. Whatever that may be, the violence against women does not end. But, times have changed with the women voicing their rights in every sphere. The problem here is that most of the women in Nepal lack education and awareness regarding their rights. This has made women activists work harder to get justice delivered to the women who are victims of violence as the intricacies of the law create their own dead ends. It has been reported that almost half of the violence against married women takes place at home and the perpetrators are the husband or in-laws. This is an alarming picture.

The gloomy scenario of women’s right to live a life of dignity has roused women activists globally. This has resulted in the 16-day campaign to end violence against women, every year from November 25 to December 10. In this connection, the participants of a conference organised by the National Network Against Girl Trafficking (NNAGT), on the occasion, came up with a 14-point demand that among others called for the inclusion of the provision of gender equality in the preamble to the constitution itself. It is also worth noting that various organisations are campaigning for the guarantee of women’s rights in the constitution. The 16-day campaign has prepared a fitting background for taking stock of the situation as regards the status of women at home, in the workplace and the society in general. While the yearly review is made, it has been established that only economic power can make the women stand at par with the men. This also has the potential to reduce violence against women.

Considering the implications of depriving the women of their rights and subjecting them to a tortured slave’s life is beyond the comprehension of anyone who believes in the right to life of every citizen. The aspirations of women are no different from that of the male counterparts. Hence, for getting their due, the women themselves have to stand up to face the beast. However, the state too has its duties to fulfil in setting up the mechanism that can work to deliver justice to any woman who becomes a victim of violence. Considering the pain and suffering that many women are going through, the on-going campaign to end violence against women is noteworthy in that the issue has come into public glare and that would create the necessary pressure on the government to formulate and enforce further action plans that would be necessary to deal with the shocking violence against women.