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Published by Dilip Raj Paudel

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Published by: Dilip Raj Paudel on Jun 18, 2010
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01/26/2013

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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN NEPAL
Punam Shrestha
∗∗
 
Violence Against Women
In recent years, ‘violence against women’ (VAW) has gained greater public acknowledgment in SouthAsia. There is a vast array of violence that exists and surface repeatedly in the region.
 The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women -1993 (UNDEVAW) defines violence against women as
Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harmsor suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whetheroccurring in public or in private life.”
1
 This definition refers to the gender based roots of violence, recognizing that “violence against womenis one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared withmen”. It broadens the definition of violence by including both the physical and psychological harm done towomen. It includes acts in both private and public life.
2
The Declaration defines violence against women asencompassing, but not limited to, three areas: violence occurring in the family, within the general community,and violence perpetrated or condoned by the stale. Domestic violence, as defined for this, includes violenceperpetrated by intimate partners and other family members and manifested through
.
3
The term ‘domesticviolence’ covers a wide range of unacceptable behaviour within the family and takes many forms, emotional orpsychological abuse as well as physical assault. Indirect violence (threats, verbal abuse and denigration) maybe, in certain cases, as detrimental as actual violence.
4
It is a serious crime and public health concern thatcan
include physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional abuse of one current or former intimate partner byanother.
5
 Nepal has also facing this problem but denial of its scope and seriousness remains widespread.
6
Theinternational community has recognized that VAW is a violation of women’s human rights, their bodily integrity
 
and their sexual and reproductive rights. Violence is a tool of terror, and its use can be seen to relate directly tomale assumptions about privileged access and ownership. If women speak out against the violenceperpetrated against them they are often blamed for its occurrence and forced to carry the burden of shame. Ifthe violence is hidden to avoid dishonoring the family, then again, it is the woman
2
who bears the burden of silence and social isolation.
7
It has been acknowledged that
promotion of women’srights is a means to ensure sustainable development.
8
At present, VAW is widely recognized as a human rightsand public health issue. Among other factors, domestic violence contributes to poor quality of living standardsas well as indirectly causes negative psychosocial health outcomes.
9
Reviewing data on wife beating andbattering from
14 societies around the world groups them into four levels, from ‘essentially none’ to ‘High’.South Asia falls within the ‘high’ category.
10
Not only in terms of physical violence, has South Asia beenrepeatedly identified to have the highest rates of different forms of VAW. In fact, the worst manifestations ofgender-based violent are observed in South Asia. This is known to be the most gender insensitive region in theworld.
11
 
Present Situation of Domestic Violence in Nepal
It is estimated that the total population of Nepal is 22,903,598. Female population constitutes11,466,500 (50.65%) as against the total population.
12
The dominant Hindu culture has emphasized on the sub-ordinate roles of women in the society. Men are considered the sole breadwinners of families and women areviewed only as domestic and maternal.
13
Generally, women are confined to household affairs. Their mainresponsibilities are thought to include cooking, washing collecting fuel and firewood, fetching water, engaging inagriculture, maternity and service to male family members.
14
The workload of Nepalese women is immense.Nepalese women work about 11 hours every day but women’s domestic contributions has not beenrecognized. Male members control family income Women have been also deprived of equal property rights.Absence of property rights given to women creates for them an environment of violence.
15
 A research conducted by SAATHI, a NGO working for women in Nepal, revealed that 73% cases ofdomestic violence against women in Nepal are due to economic dependency.
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That economic dependencycreated by discriminatory property laws has forced women to tolerate domestic violence.
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If the husband kicksher out of his house, such women have nowhere to go. In the male dominated practical family women’s andgirls lives are in danger from conception onwards. Simply because they are female, their value has beenconsidered less than that of men. It lies in their sexual and reproductive service as well as the labor theyprovide under control of men.
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Their function is to perpetuate men’s family names, their honour and power.The slightest perceived insult to a man’s honour and control can be the cause far him to beat or kill his wife or

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