KATHMANDU: Violence against women is escalating and taking new forms, despite of years of efforts by the government and the non-government sector to control it.
Violence against women, which otherwise mostly occurred in rural areas, is now increasingly seen in urban areas too.
A statistics recently published by the Ministry of Health and Population states that 22 per cent women of 15 years to 49 years of age are the victims of violence in the country.
More so, 12 per cent of this percentage women are the victims of sexual violence. The report concluded that mostly women are victimised by their drunkard husbands.
At a programme organised by the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers on eradication of gender based violence here today, Secretary at the Office, Trilochan Upreti said "Violence against women should be stopped in practice and not merely in rhetoric.
During the programme, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said violence against women has increased due to poverty, illiteracy, and conservative feudal mindset.
Various laws such as the Civil Code Act, the Interim Constitution 2063, the Domestic Violence (Crime and Punishment) Act 2066, the Human Trafficking Control Act 2066 among others are in force. Questions have been raised as to why the violence against women couldn't be stopped, despite these measures.
The Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare, the National Women's Commission, the Gender Empowerment Central Coordination Committee including around a dozen governmental and non-governmental organisations have been actively working to reduce incidents of violence against women.
Chiefly, domestic violence including physical, mental, and cultural violence, punishment on the charge of witchcraft, early marriage, and polygamy are included under the list of various violence against women in our society.
Likewise, the paper presented by Secretary Dr. Upreti mentions that the victims would hesitate to file complaints as the perpetrators are let off instead of taking action against them.
Speaking at the programme, Nirmalmani Adhikari, Professor of Mass Communication, said the cases of violence against women could not be minimised as the media gave importance and much coverage to the economy and politics only. "The media are looking for benefit oriented market and they would give priority to the news that has market utility," said Adhikari.
Secretary at the NWC, Dr. Badri Pokhrel, said though the commission has a crucial role to end violence against women, still it is facing many constraints.
Chairperson of the Sancharika Samuha, Babita Basnet, said of late the cases against women violence have gradually started increasing in the urban areas compared to rural areas.