Controlling Gender Violence

And the increased voice, visibility and empowerment of women remained confined to individual scores having little dent on the system

Dec. 30, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -13 Dec. 27- 2013 (Poush 12, 2070)

Introduction

Gender-based violence marks the regression of human civilization and dreadful episode of human history. The debut of gender-based violence defied the notion that democratic and peace processes in Nepal would bring transformation in attitude and foster the legal and factual equality between male and female. Violence-induced social disruption marks the deterioration of human rights and puts the democratic progress so far in uncertain shape. And the increased voice, visibility and empowerment of women remained confined to individual scores having little dent on the system. The peace agreement of Nepal aims to unfold opportunity leading Nepal down the road to reconciliation and peace by abolishing class, gender, ethnic, caste and regional discrimination and seeking structural transformation of public sphere. Fixing the dysfunctional system to new adaptation requires a return to the path of freedom, justice and solidarity. The day 25th November 2013 has been celebrated by the UN as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which followed 16-day activities. Beneath the surface, however, remained the same untransformed context that has formatted the human life as a mere “selection.” Women’s ownership in the means of coercion and production of food, energy and goods is, therefore, necessary to control violence. 

Cultural Conversation

Nepali women’s landscape is heterogeneous, diffused and split and, therefore, their emancipation requires different approaches to bridge building. One common theme is: education of women for leadership can build their power and self-confidence to transform the discourse, context and culture of power and use it as a creative, liberating force.  The central message of this time is to enhance the role of women and help and heal the post-conflict condition of society the cost of which is mostly borne by women. Building an effective and responsive state with the ability to execute unified application of laws in society can deter violence-perpetuating forces that violate women’s integrity of body, identity and choice. There is a correlation between the national integrity system of the state and personal integrity of women’s lives. Reclaiming the state alone can provide an opportunity for Nepalese women to define their role in personhood and engage in the pursuit of life, liberty, justice and identity. This improves the format of security for them. There are more strategies:

a) Situating women in the multiple power relations: An understanding about the complexity of power relations in which women are caught in Nepal is important to discover multiple causation of violence and seek the solutions of their disempowerment. This narrative underlines an argument to enable average women to control the condition of their lives.

b) Formulation of counter-hegemonic discourse beyond disciplinary trap: Obviously, knowledge is power, medium of rationalization of activities and also policy means to discipline and punishment. Discursive power implies the knowledge and experience of Nepali women and men in the determination of politics, law and public policies. But, power operates in an institutional context producing incentives for peace for some and violence for others if its game is played by unequal players. Women’s struggle for engineering institutional change is essential to rectify the power imbalance and create level playing field at multi-level governance. 

c) Moving the discourse beyond the public-private dichotomy to capture an arena of political: Since politics is an arena of contestation of power, empowerment of women alone can prevent subordination and violence inflicting them because in Nepal at the inner core of politics is still governed by utilitarian instinct, not democratic norms, that often legitimizes violence and impunity. Powerlessness of women means a lack of their capacity to alter the course of events that affect them. Since Nepali media is attuned to focus more on ‘political’ rather than other spheres of life-world and leaders communicate to multiple audiences through a channel of communication, visibility of women’s workloads can be a powerful tool for preparing the society for the burden and benefits of sharing and reforms.

d) Enabling the critical masses to reflect on ‘human condition’: Women’s awareness to know their position in the pyramid of power is critically linked to their struggle to overcome the situation through the means of political agency. The awareness of the relationship between medium of socialization and behavior in the life of men and women and their experiences are important factors to remove the constraining conditions from bottom up for an alternative shared vision based on equal labor, work, stake and justice. 

e) Employing the emancipatory power of social movements: Building rainbow coalitions of genuine civil society groups to engage women in a new social contract is necessary to liberate them from the confinement to social labor but also exercise gender-specific, constitutional and human rights and strengthen the Nepali society’s moral fiber.

Conclusion

Changing framework condition is important to enable law and development policies implementable. Those engaged in non-violent politics have to think beyond “there is no alternative” and develop practical inclusive projects in cross-spheres of women’s lives such as re-socialization, political participation, decent work, capacity building at grassroots level, gender budgeting, gender justice and broader level of collective action at the multi-level governance aiming to change the existing power structures of political economy that legitimizes violence and escape punishment. This is a strategy to react to crisis moment and bring various identities of women and men into the framework of equal citizens and human beings and engage them in the production of knowledge, policy, institutions and political culture aligned with the democratic substances of modernity.  Individual’s opportunity springs from the context of family, state, market, civil society and international order, therefore, their democratization is essential for the broader humanization of society at large.  We need to capture the metaphysical roots of our civilization’s heritage of tolerance and coexistence. Therefore, a cultural return from the ongoing de-culturalization is a solution to negate violence against the nature and women

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