Without all the sectors, all of us coming together and working in cohesion with each other, this crime of rape will continue in one way or the other
On July 26, 2018, Nirmala Panta was murdered and raped. And, the perpetrator(s) are still fleeing. According to the police administration, they are working hard to find the clue of the case. However, the unforgettable is how the pieces of evidence were removed. The mystery related to the case of Nirmala is haunting. The nationwide outcry and demand for #JusticeforNirmala have forced the state and police administration to keep working toward the case. But how long will it take for Nirmala to get justice?
Around three weeks ago, a minor in Dhanusha was raped and burned to death. The perpetrator has been imprisoned. How is the family ever going to heal? Especially when the minor’s picture and identity were everywhere on the media. A year ago, exactly during this time, minor from Parsa was in the hospital fighting for her life after being gang-raped. Both of minor’s identities were made public. Last year, the photograph with the minor from the hospital bed was on Twitter and was retweeted over 100 times. Similarly, local television also made a news clip where the minor’s father is shown crying helplessly. The question here comes, how can we learn to use these available digital resources with sensitivity and respect to each other?
According to a report published in Republica in August 2018, there were 1480 rape cases reported in the year 2017-18. The report further says, on average four rape cases are reported daily. That means four girls around Nepal are raped on a daily basis. Most of the victims and survivors of the rape are minors and vulnerable women. Isn’t that alarming? Isn’t that scary? The question here is: are the girls and women safe in their own home, locality, and their own community? We all know a lot of small girls are victimized by someone they know and are lured by the perpetrators with either goods or by threatening them. Some of them are raped and murdered brutally and some are banished from their own communities for being raped. The story of rape is unbearable and social layers that are attached to it are incomprehensible. In a society like ours where thinking is like ‘if a woman gets raped, it is her fault,’ the depth of crisis after a woman gets raped is unimaginable.
How do your body and mind respond to these news stories of rape and murder of minors and vulnerable women?
I am sure it gives all of us goosebumps and also instils anger as well as fear and makes you cry as you are helpless. These stories of rape are cruel and brutal. These stories portray the darkest side of human sentiment and dark reality of how those who suffer are either vulnerable minors or women. We get a lot of reports on someone being raped. But why aren’t the concerned stakeholders asking why this is happening so frequently? Where is the government agenda to address this humanitarian crisis? The government should declare the rape crisis and launch a nation-wide program on sex education and awareness of rape. However, without a structured work and plan from the government and non-governmental sectors and without a networked work, this crisis is something that won’t solve quickly. For addressing this crisis, multidisciplinary networked actions are must and that includes government, non-government sectors like NGOs, private sectors, health offices, schools, media, advocates and activists. This is a crucial time and the crisis of rape should be solved. Without all the sectors coming together, it is not possible.
Feminism for all
The current discourse around the issues of violence against women and rape has been made to look like only the concerns of women or the feminists who outcry. However, with this article, I ask a question to all those who think that issues of women are only the concern of women or activists: Does this issue not crunch your stomach?
We are in a time where the crime of rape has seemed unstoppable, and this is not just a concern of feminists who rage on a daily basis and demand that all the concerned stakeholders should come together. This is the problem of all and all of us should come together and continue to rage against this heinous crime. Without all the sectors, all of us coming together and working in cohesion with each other, this crime will continue in one way or the other. Before it is too late, there isn’t any option other than working together.
I wrote this last year as well and I am writing this again: Feminism is for all. It is not perfect, but it definitely tries to speak for all. Is it successful in that? Maybe or maybe not. But that doesn’t mean that to be a feminist is a crime or a fashion. It is not. And, one doesn’t need to be a feminist to speak against heinous crimes like rape. Outside all the personal biases and interests we have, it is necessary for us to think of what each of us can contribute personally to help each other address this humanitarian crisis.
This crisis deeply hurt us and last year, we started an online campaign called #RageAgainstRape. For the past year, we have been trying our best to raise our voice against issues of rape and violence against women. But what we get in return? We get tagged with various names and various definitions. #RageAgainstRape is a campaign that is beyond any political influence and also is in its initial phase and it welcomes all of you to join hands against the rape crisis in Nepal. We do not have a magic wand to solve all the problems, if we had we would have located the perpetrator of Nirmala easily. Since we do not have a magic wand, we would like all of you to come together with us to rage against rape and continue the demand for #JusticeforNirmala and justice for all the rape victims.
The author is a PhD Candidate of Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University, US