Covid-19 has become a global pandemic to all over the world. The Nepal government has started a lockdown from Chaitra 10 to adopt some safety measures for the public.
Through, despite COVID-19 pandemic rape cases have raised mysteriously during a lockdown. According to the latest data, the number of other crime decrease expect for the rape and suicide cases. The National penal (code) Act 2017 has clearly defined rape in chapter 18 of section 219 of subsection 2 which states that “where a man has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or with a girl child below 18 years of age even with her consent, the man should be considered rape on such women or girl child.
By the above sentence “consent” is well explained below in 2 points in its subsection 2
- Consent obtained by way of coercion, under the influence, intimidation, threat, misrepresentation, or kidnapping or taking hostage shall not be considered to be consent.
- Consent obtained at the time of being of unsoundness of the mind shall not be considered to be consent.
And also, there is the provision of different penalties in rape cases in its subsection (3)
- a) Imprisonment for a term of 16 to 20 years if she is a girl child below 10 years of age.
- b) Imprisonment for a term of 14 to 16 years, if she is a girl child who is 10 years or above 10 years of age but below 14 years of age.
- c) Imprisonment for a term of 12 to 14 years if she is a girl child who is 14 or above years of age but below 16 years of age.
- d) Imprisonment for a term of 10 to 12 years, if the woman is 16 or above 16 years of age but below 18 years of age.
- e) Imprisonment for a term of 7 to 10 years if women are 18 or above 18 years of age.
According to the latest data compiled by the Nepal police Headquarters as many as 2,144 cases of rape and 687 cases of rape, attempts were registered in the last fiscal year (2019/20) among them 60% of rape victims are below the age of 15, especially between 11to15. The rape victim is usually under -age poor girls range from six months to 75 years old in Nepal. The record of Nepal police shows that 100% of rape cases were solved in 2015/16, 85.31% of cases in 2016/17, and 99.59 % cases in 2017/18.
In September 2018 the government of Nepal has taken one steps to lower the sexual violence by banned hundred of pornographic sites claiming they have been abetting sexual violence and encouraging the aberration in society, however, the crackdown on the pornographic content doesn’t seem to have contributed in lowering the cases of sexual violence as the government has claimed it would.
A 17 years old girl has been gang-raped by her friends in Tulsipur of the dang district. Bishnu Budhathoki, Karna Sarki grabbed her in the empty house kitchen in Tulsipur-5 Rani Jaruwa area at 11 pm on Ashoj 23. A police official said that the perpetrators of the gang–rape were friends of the victims.
On October 92 thousand and 20 a girl who was going on the way to her sister’s house to sleep at 8 p.m. was raped by 26 years old Mann Bahadur Musahar.
A recent incident of Samjhana Bk Masta Municipality 2 Bajhang district who was going to shed to put grass was half an hour walk away from home was raped by Rajendra Bohara,18 and murder. Rajendra Bohara was also involved in different crimes in the past but the community people and family members always hide their crimes and don’t take any legal action. This type of action always supports criminals to commit another crime and the same as recent more activities occur in the future.
This case is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems of rape and sexual assault in Nepal. On average, two girls raped daily during this lockdown period. The Kathmandu valley and province -5 recorded the highest number of rape cases during this lockdown period.
Various activism has launched street protests and social media campaigns against sexual crimes in an attempt to seek justice for rape victims. This issue has also become a subject of discussion in the nation’s parliament where women lawmakers have formed nine members task-force to increase the punishments for rape convicts, including capital punishment.
Pitamber Adhikari, Former Deputy Inspector general of Nepal police says “The efficiency of the investigating officials needs to be improved” he said. “But increasing the severity of the penalty would act as a deterrent measure to minimize the crime”.
Pushpa Bhusal, the whip of Nepali congress who is also a lawyer said, “I believe the types of gruesome crimes we are witnessing on a daily basis will go down if severe penalties are in place”.
Since the idea of capital punishment, however, has not been received warmly by everyone. The disadvantage of capital punishment is that in every rape cases almost always the witness is usually the victim if we made the provision of the death penalty for the rapist in our country then the only one thing the rapist do that, he will eliminate the witness(victim) or the cases of murder after the rape will increase.
The voice of capital punishment to rapists is increasing largely because of the very slow judicial process. If the judiciary of our country doesn’t function efficiently and effectively without any political pressure and successful to provide quick justice to rape victims then the very severe protest in many parts of the country demanding capital punishment would not be rise.
Hence, education and awareness in the general people, the evolution of the society, and law enforcement together is a solution for it.