In the ten years from 2008, the incidence of child rape quadrupled as Nepal transitioned from being a very conservative Hindu monarchy to becoming a secular republic in 2008. We believe the growth has also been fuelled by the ease of access to pornography through smartphones in tandem with unhealthy male attitudes within certain elements of Nepalese society. The Nepali Times reported in December 2012 how young men have filmed rapes and shared them on social media with their peers. The police have been at best ineffectual, often complicit in brokering “deals” at village level that see rapists paying “compensation” to their victims who are often from the poorest lower caste families. At worst, they have been guilty of malfeasance, deliberately destroying evidence and, under political or financial pressure, framing the wrong individuals. Conviction rates are very low. Sometimes village elders have ruled that a girl should marry her rapist and pay a dowry to his family.
ChoraChori is approaching the issue from a number of angles. In 2018 we extended the use of our Children’s Refuge and Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) from caring for children repatriated from India to support also child rape victims. This includes the use of our Child Trauma Management Centre that is on the same site. We have also raised awareness about the issue through the pages of the Nepali Times, which is read by the most influential people in Nepal. We instigated prominent articles in February 2018 and in June 2018.
A ChoraChori-Nepal field team, including two lawyers, is very active in visiting villages in the southeast of the country (which has the highest incidence of rape) supporting families in their quest for justice and ensuring that rapists are brought to book. The team’s work is tough in so many respects, including with rapists and their families issuing death threats in a futile attempt to deflect our attention. These visits also serve to assess family circumstances and establish if any support is required beyond trauma management.
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