After rape cases started surfacing in Nepal, a social media campaign “Rage Against Rape” gained momentum with thousands of people coming out to speak out against rape.
“The campaign started in the aftermath of a rape committed at Landmark Hotel on Durbarmarg,” Hima Bista, one of the initiators of the campaign. “It became a trending topic, but we knew that social media campaigns can soon die out. So we decided to give it a more tangible form of protest.”
According to The Kathmandu Post, to coincide with 108th celebration of International Women’s Day, activists from the “Rage Against Rape” movement attended the annual rally organised by the Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare in the Capital.
“It is easier to tweet than to come to the streets, but this is still a good beginning,” said Bista. “We hope to keep our momentum alive.”
The rally which started at Brikutimandap and concluded at Shantivatika, Ratnapark also saw several representative women groups and activists working in the field of women’s empowerment joining.
The participating groups included Armed Police Force, Traffic Police, various INGOs and NGOs, along with wheelchair activists, transgender women and Nijamati Karmachari Mahila Sangh.
“The country has made great legal strides to empower women,” Thapa remarked. “But we need to keep raising our voice so that social malpractices, such as isolating women during menstruation cycles, are eradicated.”
International Women’s Day started to be marked in 1911 in celebration of universal women suffrage, women rights and of women who made great impact on the public sphere. Nonetheless, the global metoo movement, World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, and Nepal’s own “Rage Against Rape” campaign show that Women’s Day has yet to become a celebration, and remains a fight.