Nepal women would rather report domestic violence than rape, advocates say
Summary of story from Women’senews, January 18, 2011
Although the Nepalese government amended the law against rape to include marital rape six years ago, few women have heard of it.
This contrasts with the Domestic Violence Law of 2009 which is increasingly being invoked.
This, say women’s advocates, is because victims of involuntary marital sex would rather report it as domestic violence than rape.
Women say people would attack their characters if they filed marital rape reports, says Susha Gautam of the Forum for Women, Law and Development.
Others don’t report report because of a loyalty to their husbands that is deeply ingrained in Nepali culture and the social stigma attached to defying or leaving one’s husband, says Suchitra Mainali, a sociology professor at Padma Kanya Multiple College.
“In every household, women have been bearing the brutality of marital rape,” says Mainali. “It seems like women have been used to bearing it with such pain.”
Deepa Acharya, a legal adviser from the National Women’s Council, says that the government is working to raise awareness through special ministries and councils created to address women’s issues.
She says the media is also helping to make more women aware of marital rape and the laws and resources available to assist them.
“Work is in progress,” Acharya says. “The government is also working toward it. It takes time for people to be aware.”