Violence taking its toll on women, girls

While the country was marking 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign November 25 to December 10 with the theme ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All’, the country recorded as many as 271 incidents of Violence Against Women during the period.

According to a report published by Informal Sector Service Centre, it recorded 242 cases of domestic violence, nine rapes, six assaults, five murders, three witchcraft accusations, three attempted trafficking in persons, two child marriages, one attempted rape, two cases of sexual abuse and three of child labour. INSEC said five murders were perpetrated by their own family members.

Most of the cases of domestic violence filed at the concerned district administration offices and police offices were resolved by reconciling the victims and perpetrators.

The Domestic Violence (Crime and Punishment) Act, 2008 states that if the victim so desires, the police officer or local body officer may reconcile the victim and the perpetrator within 30 days from the date of registration of the complaint.

A police official informed that cases are sent to the court only if both the parties do not agree to settle dispute through reconciliation. Despite stringent laws, women and girls continue to be subjected to hostility and discrimination on a daily basis.

According to Nepal Demographic and Health Survey-2011, at least one out of every five women experience mental, physical and other forms of violence in their lifetime.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is taken as a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The police official said the law enforcement agency was committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and trafficking in persons and bring to book the perpetrators.

He admitted that several cases of domestic violence go unreported due to fear of social stigma.

However, women rights activists blame the absence of effective mechanism to provide immediate rescue and rehabilitation for victimised women as the main reason why gender-based violence cases are not reported.