Physical molestation and other forms of sexual violence seem to have become a new norm in our society. A couple of days ago, a young woman from Kathmandu came forward, acknowledging that she had been raped at the age of 16. The organiser of a beauty pageant had apparently raped her while she was unconscious. The alleged had used her pictures as a way of blackmailing her for the next six months. Eight years post the horrific incident, the victim has come out to share her own stories. And the support she is receiving from public is overwhelming.
As of now, the police have arrested the person involved in such a heinous crime for investigation. Also, this whole incident has sparked a revolt against sexual abuses in our country. More and more female victims are now sharing their own sufferings and seeking justice for the same. Many physical molestation and sexual crimes have exposed the hidden malaise infecting our society.
When a rape takes place, we immediately put blame on the victim rather than on the rapist(s). To justify the blaming, we point at the victim’s character, carelessness or even clothing. In a way, people stage it like the victims have brought the situation on themselves. This is why anyone who becomes a victim of sexual violence rarely tries to come out. We do not fully trust and support the victims. Before heading to seek justice for the same, we make it a point to question the victim herself.
Not just the beauty pageant industry but schools and colleges have become the new unsafe havens for most girls and women. Just recently, a young girl from a college located at Chabhil of Kathmandu exposed the physical molestation she faced. The coordinator had apparently been sexually abusing female students. He had asked them to become his physical partner. He had also threatened that they would be removed from the college if not agreed. Nowhere is safe and wicked persons have made a point to blackmail and exploit the naive and innocent girls and women.
Since historical times, women have been called and treated as inferior compared to their male counterparts. Most of the perpetrators seem to feel privileged to do whatever they want, not fearing their wrongdoings. Guaranteed that the girls will not speak up and be as helpless as they want, they continue their blackmailing until they can meet their selfish interest.
As girls and women, we have been taught that it is our prestige that has to be protected at all costs. So in the quest of doing so, they do not realise they are being exploited.
Besides, the societal construct and loopholes exist within our laws. As per our existing laws, a rape victim must file a case with the police within a year of the crime. Only then can justice delivery become an easy process. However, coming out in the open and speaking up requires much courage and support.
By the time the victims gain the courage to speak up, the short statutory limitation itself helps the perpetrators run away. This is why there is an urgent need to extend the statutory limitation. The traditional mindset of male supremacy has to be cut off from the roots for anything good to happen from now on.