Radha Neupane, who is already married at the age of 12, lives and supports her family on $30 a month. She has no financial backing from her alcoholic husband and she is also a victim of domestic violence. She works for a cleaning service, cleaning over three houses a day to place food on the table for her young ones.
“I’m used to it now. What choice do I have?” said Neupane to IRIN, a service of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Over the past decades, domestic violence in Nepal still remains an unsolved issue. Gender based violence, particularly toward females, is the main concern. The violence comes in all forms, including verbal abuse, beating and even more common, acid burning.
Saathi is an organization directed at helping victims of domestic violence. Activist and Saathi vice president Bhawana Rana states, “The office has barely changed because we hold the same patriarchal society where women’s equality is not accepted.”
Nepal is known to hold the worst rates of gender based violence in Asia. The current bill to hinder domestic violence from continuing to be a problem is currently on hold in Nepal’s government. As of now, the government is not taking any proactive actions to help relieve any of the domestic violence in Nepal.
In Nepal, domestic violence is considered to be more of a private family issue than a crime, thus resulting in a lack of outside interference. Abused women suffer from mental health problems like depression and physical reproductive health problems.
Violence against women in Nepal continues to grow every day. A total of 86 percent of women are unsafe in the communities they reside in. A disturbing 91 percent of women killed in Nepal have been killed by someone they know. Many of these abused adult females do not seek legal help in fear of more abuse from the government agencies and authorities.
Nepal does not provide secure areas for adult females who are victims of domestic abuse. This leaves women vulnerable and unable to escape the abuse. Over one-fifth of Nepal’s population deems domestic abuse acceptable. For most women the home is the most unsafe place to be. Women in the home are more likely to face marital rape and violence.
Activists are continuing their efforts to put an end to domestic violence and provide a safe environment for women and children to live in. The society is in need of political leadership to speak up for not only the women in Nepal, but all victims of domestic violence in the area. There is much improvement needed within Nepal’s government and legislature. Their view of domestic violence needs to change. Human rights activists have raised awareness of the social unjust in Nepal and continue to raise the question of providing necessary protocol and policies to end this epidemic.
– Rachel Cannon
Sources: IRIN, WOREC
Photo: World Bank