NEPALGUNJ, April 3: Since the last few months, repeated cases of rapes of minors, young girls and women have rocked the whole nation. From school-going girls to working and household women, no one has been spared from the hands of some lecherous men.
Significant rise in rape cases has been a major concern for all. Such cases have been reported almost every single day in various parts of the country especially in Banke, Surkhet and Dang. In fact, these cases have played a pivotal role in tarnishing the image of the localities and the nation as a whole.
Recently, a ten-year-old girl of Kohalpur Municipality-11 was raped by Tham Bahadur Budha, 30, of Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City-16. The victim's parents owned a restaurant and Budha was among the regular customers there. Her parents had no idea that their little child would be raped when their regular customer insisted on dropping her home on his scooter. Reportedly, the minor was raped for five long hours in a nearby ground.
"We have been hearing that there have been some efforts to hide and reconcile the heinous incident of March 24, when the girl was raped," wrote Deputy Mayor of Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City Uma Thapa Magar on social media. However, the culprit was nabbed by police after a complaint was filed by the victim's family.
A week after this incident, another seven-year-old girl was gang raped in Banke. It might be hard for some to believe that she was raped by 12 and nine-year-old boys. Inspector Yagya Prasad Bhattarai of Area Police Office, Kohalpur informed that the perpetrators have been handed over to their parents after registering a case against them.
According to District Police Office (DPO), Banke, altogether 17 cases of rape and 22 cases of attempt to rape have been filed this year. Many cases have not been reported to police due to the fear of stigma. Deputy Mayor Thapa Magar says family members, friends and neighbors of the victims should create a favorable environment for the rape victims to speak up about the violence.
“Mostly, girls with poor family background are prone to rape. Due to the fear of losing income source or dying, such girls do not speak and keep suffering silently," said Deputy Mayor Thapa Magar.
It has been reported that some girls are even raped under the pretext of providing jobs. Yam Bahadur Shrestha, chairperson of Ganga Jamuna Agricultural Co-operative Organization was accused of raping a 19-year-old girl of his own office by taking her to Kathmandu. According to police, Shrestha raped the girl for five days threatening her to leak her nude pictures and videos. The accused is currently at large.
Police involvement in rape
On February 20, a security personnel had raped a fifteen-year-old girl of Birendranagar-14 by taking her to a forest. Though the culprit was immediately arrested after the incident, he was released on bail. Deputy Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh Chaudhary of Surkhet argues that the easy access to technology has contributed to the increase in rape cases.
Victims blamed for their fate
In another incident, a 15 weeks pregnant woman of Phulbari, Dang was gang-raped by some masked men who entered her home late night by breaking the door. They had reached there with the intention of raping her knowing that her family members had gone to the home of their relatives. The pregnant woman was screaming in agony but they closed her mouth and raped her brutally.
She had shared the incident with her sister-in-law, who had promised to keep it a secret. But unfortunately her sister-in-law informed her mother-in-law and eventually all the family members knew about the incident.
"My husband almost killed me with a spade after hearing about the incident. However, I was saved by my mother-in-law," said the victim. Since then, her husband always tried to find reasons to stay away from her and went abroad. The victim was further tortured by her in-laws.
After returning from abroad, he married another woman. Unable to bear the torture, the victim had to return to her maternal home and has been living there since then.
However, this is just a representative case where victims have been blamed for being raped. Many are ostracized by the society and even their own family members refuse to accept them.
(With inputs from our district correspondents Kamal Khatri, Devendra Basnet and Nagendra Upadhyay)