DOMESTIC VIOLANCE: Orange Revolution

The UN Women’s call to orange neighborhood, urging communities to stop violence against women, has generated widespread response

Dec. 5, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -12 December. 5- 2014 (Mansir 19, 2071)

With the call of United Nations to “Orange Your Neighborhood," the people around the world have displayed the color to symbolize hope for a future free from violence against women and girls.

UN- Women in Nepal has also urged the people to go orange and oppose violence against women. This call has received wide response in Nepal and other parts of the world.

“We need this eye-catching color everywhere so that the message is loud and clear: we all need to work together to stop violence against women and girls right now,” says UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “That includes men and boys standing up for what’s right and working with us and the women’s movement to tackle gender inequality. We have to end this universal violation of human rights. We know what works; now we are insisting on the commitment of political action and commensurate resources to that agenda.”

“Orange YOUR Neighborhood” is part of the UN Secretary-General’s campaign, unite to end Violence against Women. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which runs between 25 November and 10 December, and Human Rights Day are celebrated around the world.

Although the world is observing violence against women weeks and rights activists are advocating for the protection of women's rights globally, the status of women in Nepal is not satisfactory.

Although Nepal is a signatory to different UN Conventions and international instruments on women's rights, the women are victimized by different kinds of violence.

Of the cases of violence against women reported in the country in 2014, most were related to domestic violence.

According to the Informal Sector Services Centre (INSEC), a large number of women become victims to domestic violence every year.

In 2013, it reported, a total of 3,048 women and children were subjected to violence against them. Similarly, 178 women and girl children were murdered for different reasons.  Of them, 108 were killed by the members of their families while five by in-laws for not bringing dowry, six killed after rape and one killed on the charge of witchery.    

Despite legal provisions against the gender-based violence against women, the survivors have been deprived of proper justice due to poor execution of laws concerned, and the prolonged transition in the country.

The present Act on Domestic Violence has several lacunas and challenges. According to lawyers, the Act remains symbolic due to the absence of effective measures regarding prosecution when complaints are filed directly to the court by the complainant, the lack of powers of the police to detain the perpetrator until the issuance of an interim order, and the lack of prescribed measures for coordinating the actions of various agencies to support the victim.

Despite recent progress in many countries to stop violence, gaps remain, with devastating consequences. In Nepal, women are beaten in their homes, harassed on the streets and bullied on the Internet. One in three women experiences physical or sexual violence at some point in her life – mostly by an intimate partner.

Despite all the laws that Nepal has enacted and the international conventions, concerning violence against women, more women are becoming victims of various forms of domestic violence of late.

According to data provided by Nepal Police, the number of cases of domestic violence in the country, which was just 1,800 in 2012/13, more than tripled in 2013/14 to 6,835. A majority of the women subjected to domestic violence endured physical violence and verbal abuse.

A total of 3,552 women were verbally abused by their partners in 2013/14 while 1,284 were victims of physical violence. Similarly, 720 women were not given food or clothing and 125 were kicked out of the home during the same year.

The number of cases of domestic violence was just 983 in the year 2009/10. The figure surged to 1,355 in 2010/11 and 2,250 in 2011/12.  In the last year alone 169 were killed in many parts of Nepal.

“It is not true that violence against women is increasing. As awareness increases, reporting of violence has increased," said DIG Madhav Joshi, spokesperson of the Nepal Police. “As Nepal police has set up women and children cells in all 75 districts, this will help people seek justice.”

As Nepal is also celebrating the 2-week long campaign with orange neighborhood, despite the rising awareness against violence against women, there is a long way to go in making Nepal a zero tolerance country.

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