Let’s accept it! Some of us men still cannot seem to cordially woo a woman into a relationship where both parties mutually consent to a physical bond. We still end up resorting to forceful means of establishing sexual relations with the opposite sex. More shockingly, people have the audacity to put forth justifications to acts of rape. A woman in a revealing dress is definitely no provocation to forcefully invade her body. Millions of years of evolution has given the human being apt sense and thought control to not give in to primal animal lust. Has it not?

A woman in a revealing dress is definitely no provocation to forcefully invade her body.

So why do men rape? Lack of education, awareness and a low standard of living may play a contributing factor in answering this question. But global statistics tell us that this certainly is not a determinable factor. For instance, Sweden has one of the highest standards of living and a well educated population. But ironically, Sweden also registered the second highest rate of rape cases in the world in 2010. So are the sick perversions of man that really drives him to rape? Psychologists agree that rape is caused by some psychological illness within the offender and it is strongly contended that those who rape are either emotionally disturbed or have personality defects. Some other psychologists believe that rape is caused by a sexual addiction. While the average psychologist state that a rapist is a man who had childhood experiences that were relatively difficult to deal with and now they cannot relate to women in a successful manner which ultimately is a defect called sexual inadequacy.

However, some sociologists concur on the fact that rapists are relatively normal people and do not have a psychological illness and they have a couple of different explanations. One theory to which countries like Nepal and India can relate to more easily is the expression of gender inequality. Needless to point out, we live in a society which is pretty much male dominated. The idea of gender equality is still taking some time to set in, and this leads to sexual permissiveness. In such situations, the likeliness of men taking rejections personally is high. This in turn may lead to frustration driven rape cases. A more feminist point of view blames the need for the male gender to show their dominance, as a reason for rape resulting from sexual inequality. And there is plenty of evidence to support this theory as almost all rape cases has a male as the offender.

Regardless of the causes, invading another person’s body is a brutal act which should have phased out as man started living in civilized societies. However, a recent flurry of horrendous offences clearly shows that the human race has a long way to go. It started out with the infamous Delhi rape case which sent out waves of shock, disgust and even protests right across borders to Nepal. Before the atrocious issue even had a chance to simmer down, another innocent woman was robbed at the hands of Immigration Officials in Tribhuvan Airport and later raped by a Nepal Police constable in our very own Nepal. Due to its extremity and involvement of government officials, this rape case did receive the amount of attention that it deserved. Series of campaigns led to the foundation of the popular Occupy Baluwatar movement, which lasted for a couple of months with activists peacefully demonstrating at the gates of the Prime Minister’s residence on a regular basis. The protests, a voice raised by the general public, pleaded strict action against perpetrators of violence against women. But sadly, with no political support or violent measures undertaken by the activists, the movement has now lost steam and put very little pressure on the incumbent government to genuinely take action. It’s pathetic to conclude that our system of governance will never actually swing to action on a peaceful protest that does not resort to hooliganism and vandalism. The bitter truth is that it always requires a nationwide strike to settle on a consensus with the government.

Although the government amended the law against rape to include marital rape, many cases still go unreported.

Thousands of rape cases, however, just go by unnoticed and unattended. Police reports say that one rape case is reported in the country per day but scarier statistics suggest that a rape or violence against women takes place every hour somewhere in Nepal. Unfortunately, most rape cases never come to light because the women and their families do not allow them to. In the fair chance that a victim does press charges, the prosecution is a whole new ordeal in itself. Firstly, the victim will require a doctor’s report before registering the charges. But the irony here is that the doctors are reluctant to include rape in their reports, as it will/may require them to come testify in the court of law. Then to finally convict the rapist, the victim must prove, in an open court, that the rapist sexually penetrated her. Apart from being very difficult to prove, the whole ordeal is an embarrassing nightmare for the victim who has already gone through too much suffering.

Difficulties in proving and convicting rapists aside, the alarming fact is that there are so many cases of marital rape that are not given the magnitude of seriousness they deserve. Many wives in Nepal suffer from spousal rape on a routine basis, which may be a consequence of the male-dominated culture prevalent here. Although the government amended the law against rape to include marital rape, many cases still go unreported. Marital violence is wrongly accepted in our Hindu society with the belief that our religious texts acknowledge wives into submitting to their husbands’ whims. But the fact is that Hinduism also stresses on conjugal harmony based on mutual understanding between the husband and wife. So the only reason such marital violence happens to be accepted is because the religion is misinterpreted by our society. A 1997 survey by SAATHI established that 95 per cent of 1,250 married women interviewed experienced some form of domestic violence, and that rape, after beatings, was the second most common form of physical violence. The sad thing is that it is highly unlikely that these numbers have changed significantly for the better.

Because issues like rape are not openly discussed in our society, it is very hard to get appropriate statistics. And due to this very reason several women shy away from ever admitting that they have been raped, fearing relational and social disapproval. Furthermore, the perception of the general public to the victim is usually not of sympathy or understanding. This is specially a concern when virginity of a bride is considered as one of the prime concerns when getting married (which is again a totally different issue on its own). What this consequently ensues is a further narrowed insight on the subject of rape, leaving it a taboo subject in our society.

Completely eradicating any form of crime is expecting a little too much. However, it is an even graver case when the issue is swept under the rug. Having proper laws is a start, but is certainly not enough. Spreading proper awareness is a must so that people’s perception towards the crime, victim as well as the perpetrators changes drastically.

Words: Ankit Shakya

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"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." TNM is a premiere men’s magazine providing complete coverage of inspirational stories, fashion and culture from across Nepal. With its unique and powerful design, work from the finest photographer, spectacular writers and a pro- active Marketing team TNM reaches thousands of readers each month. We are team that believes in giving its readers a thought-provoking experience each and every month.