Nepals kvinder til kamp mod sexchikane

Forfatter billede

Sexchikane mod kvinder er udbredt i Nepal, og problemet er stigende. Det vil især de unge kvinder ikke finde sig i. De har blandt andet arrangeret en march for respekt, og de kræver, at den gældende lovgivning på området bliver håndhævet, hvilket sker sjældent nu.

KATHMANDU, 23 May 2012 (IRIN) – Sexual harassment is an everyday issue for women in Nepal, particularly in urban areas. Although exact numbers are unavailable, activists say the problem is on the rise and are demanding change.

“Harassment is all over Nepal against women and the problem is big. It’s more of a problem where more people live, but it really is everywhere, and it is growing,” said Pratiya Rana, 22, a university student and an organizer of the country’s recent “Walk for Respect” demonstration, the Nepali version of Toronto’s SlutWalk, the international protest movement.

Rana was harassed by a gang of local men in a village an hour from the capital, Kathmandu. “They pushed and shoved me and one man grabbed my breasts and asked me for sex,” she told IRIN.

Women dressed in short skirts and leggings carried signs demanding change toward sexual harassment in public spaces and in the workplace.

“The country is in two worlds – young and old – and we young women want change. We demand the government protect the rights of women,” Rana said.

This will prove difficult in Nepal, a male-dominated, patriarchal society of 30 million where there is no real legislation to protect women, gender divisions are traditionally rigid and female empowerment initiatives are limited.

In April, around 500 women marched through central Kathmandu to publicize the rights of women. Their goals, published in a statement, were “to sensitize the greater problem among youths as well as other people, [of] teasing and sexual harassment”.

The women talked of verbal harassment, being solicited for sex, groping, pushing, and sexual violence, including rape.

They also called for greater awareness of the few existing laws and policies to protect women, citing the Nepal Public Offences and Penalties Act of 1970, which says that “any activities or action that carries in it a sexual nature both verbally or physically” is harassment. The penalty is a US$120 fine and sometimes jail, but the legislation is rarely enforced.

A new bill, proposed in 2012, which states that perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace could face up to three months in jail and a fine of nearly $300, is waiting to be discussed by lawmakers.