KATHMANDU, March 19: It is a general belief in the Nepali society that the rapists are generally people who are stranger to the victims. But the data maintained by Nepal Police shows otherwise.
The data on rape cases compiled by Nepal Police Headquarters shows that more than 80 percent of the rape cases registered in the first seven months of the current fiscal year were registered against acquaintances of the rape victims. A total of 1,127 rape cases were registered across the nation in the seven-month period where 1,309 people have been accused of rape. Among the accused, 1,046 were acquaintances of the victims.
In the previous fiscal year, 77 percent of those accused of rape were acquaintances of the victims. A total of 1,464 rape cases were registered across the nation in fiscal year 2017/18 in which 1,674 different people were accused of the crime. Of them, 1,290 were acquaintances of the rape victims.
According to the Director of Women and Children Service Directorate of Nepal Police, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Hari Bhakta Prajapati, the major reason behind the increasing trend of rape by acquaintances is the growing social aberrations.
“We have realized that our moral education curriculum has not been consistent as of late,” he said, “Nepal Police has already held a series of meeting with the concerned stakeholders in order to bring a positive change in the curriculum.” He added that the police has also been running awareness programs in schools in order to train girls to retaliate to rape attempts.
Rape cases have continued to rise across the country despite heightened security and social awareness campaigns in recent months. Figures maintained by Nepal Police show that 1,127 rape cases were registered across the country during the first seven months of the Fiscal Year 2018/19 marking an increase of 32 percent.
Former police officials have claimed that the police should focus more on crime investigation rather than running awareness programs in order to minimize the cases of rapes.
“It is great of the police to run awareness programs but it should rather focus on conducting proper and timely investigation,” former Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Police Devendra Subedi told Republica, “Society could be transformed into a secured one if good examples are set in crime investigation.”
Former AIG Subedi added that the data on rape cases may not be showing the true situation of rape incidents in Nepal since the new criminal codes came into effect. “The new codes have opened possibilities for registration of rape cases even after 24 hours. It has even changed the definition of rape by including possibilities of rape against husband.”
police has been running awareness programs under the Community Police Partnership Program (CPPP) in order to reduce the rape cases. “Under the CPPP, police have already formed 1,336 committees across the nation against gender violence,” DIG Prajapati said, “We are also educating the young girls about safety.”