‘We, as a society, have kept quiet on sexual harassment, abuse and violence so far’

  • Issues of sexual violence must be included in public discourses to ensure equality for women
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 19, 2019-

The second day of the Kantipur Conclave, on Monday, held a discussion session that highlighted issues such as gender equity and equality, sexual violence, and Nepali society’s outlook towards these social injustices.

Luna Ranjit, co-founder of Adhikaar; Nayan Tara Gurung Kakshapati, co-founder of photo.circle; and author Sanjeev Uprety shared their views with journalist Subina Shrestha on the topic “When will women be equal to men?”

Speaking at the session, Ranjit said: “We have to face discrimination and challenges because of caste, class and colour--even in Kathmandu. We now must question ourselves: are we incorporating others while breaking these challenges?”

She further underscored the need to identify the real recipients of initiatives taken as part of the feminist movement and whom these initiations are aimed at.

Asked why men are scared of powerful women, Upreti replied that such a blanket statement cannot be applied to all men. “I don’t think men are scared with the success of women. The number of successful women in the public sphere today says a lot about how far men have come in support of women,” he said.

Responding to a question about the state’s unwillingness to address the issue of sexual violence, Kakshapati said that in most cases, sexual violence starts at the victims’ home. She said that sexual harassment, abuse and

violence have been happening for far too long but we, as a society, have kept quiet. “Sexual violence is

discussed in public space and forums only after the victim is brutally murdered after rape. Sexual violence is

happening in many households or in many societies as well,” she said.

She emphasised the lack of media intervention, in that sexual violence cases are not given the required space to be heard. Most headlines related to sexual violence appear only after a victim is beyond help, added Kakshapati.

“We have been hiding these issues since childhood because we have been told that these issues should not be

discussed in the public sphere,” she said.

Gurung further highlighted the fact that boys and men too fall prey to sexual violence and that this aspect of the issue also needs to be talked about. She said that now that the #MeToo movement has been gathering momentum in Nepal, people from all walks of life must take this opportunity to talk about sexual violence publicly as a step towards ending this malpractice.

Published: 19-02-2019 10:47

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