Subjected to gender-based violence, life for Ramita Khanal (name changed) was no better than a nightmare until a few years ago. Heavy doses of violence had such an impact on her that she now tends to abhor all the male community.
“My husband would chase me with a khukuri,” she recalls. “He would tie my limbs and assault me before having sex.”
She fled to Kathmandu from her hubby’s house, but the flight simply added to her woes. “Wherever I went for jobs, I faced sexual harassment,” she said, adding men did not spare her even at a school where she worked as a peon. “Apart from sexual harassment, in a noodle factory where men drew a monthly salary of Rs. 2000, I was paid just Rs.800 for equal work.”
Similarly, the dreams Srijana Thapa (name changed) had for herself in life have remained unfulfilled so far. A smart student at school, she wished to pursue her higher studies in a technical subject. However, her parents prevented her from studying the subject of her choice under the counsel of some relatives. She was forced to enroll at an arts college.
She was married off to a person of her parents’ preference. She couldn’t continue her bachelor’s degree as her in-laws pressurised her to discontinue her studies.”
“I faced gender-based discrimination in my family,” she said. “Life never gave me an opportunity to take care of my own dreams. I was made to suppress them ruthlessly,” she complains.
According to the data provided by Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), in Nepal, 66 percent of women have endured verbal abuse and 33 percent emotional one, while 77 percent of the perpetrators were family members. The WOREC report says 60 percent of the cases of domestic violence are under violence against women.
As evident in the cases of Khanal and Thapa, the study conducted among 1,594 women across the country by WOREC-Nepal found that most sufferers of the violence were married women (76.5 percent). “Married women are most frequently victimised by husbands and family members,” reads the report. While social violence accounts for 21 percent, rape amounts to nine percent. The report indicates that neighbours are found responsible for rape in most cases.
Girl loses life over dowry
Despite the campaigns by various organisations against the dowry system, a woman in Rautahat district has become a victim of the evil practice.
Eighteen-year-old Mamata Devi Das was allegedly killed by her in-laws at Bramhapuri-9 on Friday night for not bringing dowry. The family members strangled her at around 11 pm while she was sleeping, said her father Jibachha Das. The Mamata’s husband Mahendra and Manchit and Shiva Kumari, Mamata’s father in-law and mother in-law respectively, are at large, said Inspector Madhu Kumar Thapa.
Police suspect that she was killed as there were black bruises on her throat. Whether it is murder or any involvement of her in-laws in the incident will be ascertained after the postmortem report, added police.
Mahendra had been torturing Mamata since their marriage two years ago in Sitamadhi district in Bihar state of India for not bringing a bicycle as dowry, a local said. Jibachha Das said he spent around Rs. 160,000 on her marriage including Rs 80,000 as dowry.
Acting on a complaint lodged by Jibachha, police have registered a case against Mamata’s husband and father-in-law and mother-in-law. Police have launched a search for them, said Inspector Thapa.