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Punam-Trends and Patterns of Domestic Violence in Nepal

Punam-Trends and Patterns of Domestic Violence in Nepal

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Published by ShankerThapa
This paper is based on empirical research. The author has done justice in this paper. Her work is appreciable, thus she deserves praise for this paper
This paper is based on empirical research. The author has done justice in this paper. Her work is appreciable, thus she deserves praise for this paper

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Published by: ShankerThapa on May 09, 2013
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Trends and Patterns of Domestic Violence against Women in Nepal
 
Ms. Punam ShresthaKathmandu
 
 Abstract 
 
Domestic violence against women indicates to inferior status of Nepalesewomen. It has been entirely a personal matter in spite of its serious nature.Differential attitude of gender deriving from patriarchal structures hasdiscriminated Nepalese women since many centuries. Domestic violence assuch indicates to all sorts of acts against physical, psychological and sexualwell being of women in the family. It is an attempt to ensure male power onwomen. Cultural, economic and religious factors reinforce male dominanceand female subservience. The prevalence of DVA Win Nepal is 43.72 %.Present status of Physical, sexual and psychological violence is 24.52 %, 29.31% and 27.40 % respectively.
Keywords:
a
 buse, discrimination, patriarchy, perpetrators, violence.
 
Background
 Not many researches have been pursued on domestic violence against women(DVAW) in Nepal yet. Therefore, this problem needs proper attention. Neither thegovernment agencies nor ordinary citizens are aware of the problems of Nepalese women.Therefore, it is attempted in this paper to evaluate the prevailing trends and pattern of DVAW in Nepal. This paper basically evolved from the field research pursued in the multiethnic environment in Kathmandu area. Before proceeding to analyse different aspects of DVAW in Nepal, it is rather necessary to give a brief account on the structure of Nepalesesociety for better understanding of women and domestic violence because socio-economicstructure and culture-religious aspects have far reaching consequences on the status of women in Nepal. Nepal, a country in the Himalayas, is comprised of heterogeneous population. In spite of small size of the country, national population consists of hundreds of ethnic, caste and linguistic groups. People live in three broad geographical regions – the highHimalayan ranges, middle hill region and tropical plain lands in the south. Nepal’s ethnic,caste and linguistic groups and communities have independent cultures, traditions andlanguages. As a matter of fact, there is great variation between people living in Nepal. Thus, position of women and attitude and perception about their role and status also varies fromone group to the other. Women enjoy a great deal of authority and freedom in Mongoloidcommunities comparing to their counterparts in the Aryan communities such as
 Brahmins
,
 Kshetriyas
and the untouchable castes. Consequently, violence perpetrated against womenalso has certain differences in its basic nature in different communities. Thus, data based on
 
 
2one community in one region may not necessarily represent the general situation of DVAWin Nepal. In this context, one has to consider cultural and social heterogeneity while studying Nepalese women. Due to this reason, data was collected from various caste groups for generalization. Conclusion is largely drawn from the analysis of primary data.
Domestic Violence against Women and the Context of Nepal
Violence against women (VAW) has been a deep-rooted social and family problem in Nepal. Generally, violence is a tool of terror, and its use can be seen to relate directly to maleassumptions about privileged access and ownership.
1
Undoubtedly, men’s violence againstwomen is a sensitive issue. Male members in the society are known to identify with their own gender and accept the idea that men have the right to control their wives.
2
Domesticviolence against women (DVAW) is a form of abuse, which results in the mistreatment of women by other family members. It is a reflection of power relationships between spouses.
3
 In the Nepalese context, DVAW affects more than two out of every four women throughouttheir lifetime. It crosses all races, sexual orientations, religions, socio-economic status andgeography. DVAW does not tend to stop on its own but gets worse over time. The definitionof DVAW extends beyond physical acts of violence toward one’s partner to include sexualcoercion, physical threats, psychological abuse and controlling actions such as physicalisolation or restricting access to health care or financial resources.
4
According to the GeneralRecommendation No. 19 of the CEDAW Committee, DVAW is one of the most insidiousforms of violence against women. It carries not only serious health consequences for women, but many hidden social costs as well.
5
Thus, it is the actions by the family against one of itsmembers that threaten the life, body, psychological integrity or liberty of the member. Allthese spring from the structure of patriarchy, defined broadly as a system of male dominancelegitimated within the family and society through superior rights, privileges, authority and power.
6
For the purpose of this paper, DVAW has been defined as emotional, verbal,
1
Aisha Gill, December 2004, ‘Voicing the Silent Fear: South Asian Women’s Experiences of Domestic Violence',
The Howard Journal 
, Vol. 43 No 5, Blackwell Publishing, pp 479.
2
R. Gupta, 2003, Home Breakers to Jail Breakers: South Hall Black Sisters, London: Zed Press, pp. 10-26.
3
Strauss, M.A., R. Gelles and S. Steinmetz, 1980,
 Behind Close Door: Violence in the American Family
, New York: Doubleday.
4
Etienne G. Krug, Linda L. Dahlberg, James A. Mercy, Anthony B. Zwi and Rafael Lozano (ed.),2002,
World Report on Violence and Health
, Geneva: World Health Organization., p. 5; R.Jewkes,
et al.,
2002, ‘Sexual Violence,’ in: E G Krug
et al 
, (eds.), Geneva: World HealthOrganization.
5
Punam Shrestha, 2007, ‘Violence Against Women and Public Health Issues in the Context of  Nepal’,
 Rolamba
, Vol. 27, Nos. 1~4, pp. 11-17; Carole Warshaw, May/July 1996, 'DomesticViolence: Changing Theory, Changing Practice’,
 JAMWA-
 
 Journal of American Medical Women Association
, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 87-92.
6
Yogesh Atai, and Meera Kosambi (eds.), 1993,
Violence against Wimen Reports from India and the Republic of Korea
(Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific RUSHSAP Series of 
 
 
3 physical, sexual and psychological abuse against women within the family settings. It coversthe broad range of abuses by the male or female members in the family.DVAW of different forms has drawn attention in a broader scale around the worldmaking it the focus of policy makers and women activists. The degree of universal focusreflects seriousness of the problem. DVAW is one form of violence against women thathappens within the family. Considering the magnitude of the problem and its consequences,this paper aims at analyzing patterns and trends of DVAW in Nepal based on sample survey pursued in the Kathmandu valley.In the South Asian context, women are vulnerable to various forms of violence.Patriarchy has been deeply entrenched and gender biases are perpetrated by men and women,as part of the social order.
 
The researches done so far on South Asian DVAW reflect hopes,expectations and frustrations of women.
7
 DVAW has been a widespread social problem in Nepal. Cultural, social, economicand religious factors reinforce male dominance and female subservience so thoroughly thatneither the DVAW nor the failure to complain about it is unusual in the context of Nepalesewomen.
8
Women's dependence is reinforced in the law, religion and cultural norms.
9
Nepal’sdivergent ethnicity has also created diverse characteristics, intensity and pattern of violence.Violence and women are synonymously related in Nepal. It indicates to the inferior status of women in the male dominated Nepalese society. The traditional cultural values as well associal and family contexts are conducive to domestic violence in Nepal. DVAW has been perpetrated by the intimate partner and other family members. The main perpetrators of DVAW in most developing countries are men.In developing countries, women are vulnerable to many forms of violence, anddomestic violence represents the most common form. Although DVAW is a serious problem,it has been entirely a personal problem in Nepal. Domestic violence is considered to be aninternal family affair and a matter of family honour. The general tendency of women, thus, isto avoid reporting incidents of DVAW and bringing it to public. Consequently, it has become
Monographs and Occasional Papers), Bangkok: UNESCO Regional Office for Asia and thePacific, p. 10.
7
See for details: Nata Duvvury, 2000,
 Domestic Violence in India: A Summary Report of Four  Records Studies
, International Center for Research on Women; Minnesota Advocates for HumanRights,
 
1998,
 Domestic Violence in Nepal 
, Minnesota: Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights;Tabassum Ruchira Naved, 2003, ‘A Situational Analysis of Violence Against Women in SouthAsia’, in
Violence Against Women in South Asia A Regional Analysis
, Thailand: Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development and UNFPA; Roy, M. K., 2000,
Violence Against Women
 New Delhi: Commonwealth Publishes; SAATHI and the Asia Foundation, 1997,
 A Situational Analysis of Violence Against Women and Girls in Nepal,
Katmandu: SAATHI;Sapana Pradhan Malla and Yubaraj Sangroula, 1997, ‘Report on Violence Against Women’, Areport submitted to the UNICEF Nepal, Kathmandu.
8
Punam Shrestha, 2006, ‘An Analysis of Domestic Violence against Women (in Nepali)’,
 Rolamba
, Vol. 25, Nos. 1-4, pp. 42-46.
9
 
 Domestic Violence in Nepal 
, Minnesota . . . . ,
op. cit 
, pp. 6-7.

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