KATHMANDU: Susma Baral, 26, of local Chabahil, was married to a man from supposedly an educated and a well-to-do family.
"I cannot talk with any man, if I do so my husband reprimands me and severely beats me," she lamented.
"I have passed Bachelor's Degree majoring in Sociology. I know all about violence against woman. But the situation is such that you can't raise voice against violence against women for fear of social stigma. "
I cannot bring out all the abuses and tortures committed by my life partner," she added with teary eyes.
"My husband is also an educated person. He has the habit of drinking. When he is drunk, he starts hurling abusive words and beats me with anything he can lay his hands on," Baral shared, showing bruises all over her body on the condition of not disclosing it to others. She further said, "My life has become a hell. Still I have been living in the society keeping myself quiet."
Sushma is mentally prepared to divorce and live on her own but she has not mustered the courage to relate her plan to her parents. "My life is ruined but I have to think of the future of our four-year-old daughter," she said wiping tears with her shawl.
Sushma is the representative character; there are thousands of women undergoing similar fate in the rural and urban areas including the capital city itself.
The society could not be free from violence against women though the government brought the 16-day campaign [November 25 to December 10, 2012] for prevention of gender discrimination. March 8 is observed as International Women's Day every year as per the global effort to create awareness to this effect. These efforts seemed to be ineffective even today.
Nepal is also observing the 103rd International Women's Day with the slogan—A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.
Nepal has also signed various related international agreements and Conventions, and the slogan was selected to emphasize their implementation rather than making commitment only in rhetoric, said Nepal Women's Commission (NWC) Chairperson, Sheikh Chandtara.
The Day is a special occasion to create awareness among the women and it encourages one and all to raise their voice in support of the campaign for ending gender discrimination, added the NWC Chairperson.
Joint Secretary and Spokesperson at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Upendraman Prasad Adhikary, said that the Day is celebrated throughout the world for ending all types of discrimination against women and added that it helps women's empowerment.
Similarly, women rights activist Sharmila Karki, said that the Day helps in enhancing accountability towards women at the international-level. She added that all laws formulated at the policy level should be implemented in practice.
The Day is celebrated every year in Nepal also. There are laws for ending discriminations against women but the laws are not implemented in practice.
Incidents of discrimination against women have not decreased as expected though there are laws in place for taking action against the perpetrators. The government has also declared a public holiday for women on this Day.
Observing the women's movement in Nepal, it is found that women have been raising their voices on different issues including they being deprived of equal and meaningful participation in all sectors of the government, though they have been given voting rights, the right to stand as candidate in election, among others, for the past six decades.
The Interim Constitution, 2007, different legal and policy-level provisions and the international conventions have provisions for bringing about remarkable change in the condition of women; but these instruments are seen weak in implementation aspect.
The International Women's Day actually originated in the 19th century as a result of social and industrial revolts that erupted after the army suppression against women workers in the U.S.A. and Europe.
On March 8, 1859, women working in a garment industry held a demonstration at New York City, saying that they were paid less, treated shabbily and made to work for up to 12 hours. A large number of women were arrested and injured in the army interference in the protest.
Similarly, thousands of women on March 8, 1908, again organised a protest rally against army interference, demanding voting rights and an end to child labour.
Clara Jetkins, a German woman, in the second international conference of working women organised at Copenhagen in 1910, had proposed to celebrate March 8 as the International Women's Day.
Since 1913, March 8 every year began to be celebrated as the International Women's Day, before this, it was celebrated on March 19.
Women across the world celebrate the day with the conviction that there was no possibility of forward-looking change in society until there is women's all-round development.