Sunday, 21 July, 2024
logo
MAIN NEWS

Girls aged 11 to 16 more prone to rape, sexual assaults: Report



girls-aged-11-to-16-more-prone-to-rape-sexual-assaults-report

Kathmandu, Apr. 3: Law prohibits consensual sex with girls up to the age of 18 in Nepal. After the arrest of artist Paul Shah, there is a heated debate over this provision of the law.
The Criminal (Code) Act-2017 criminalises Shah’s act. Shah is not the first man to be allegedly involved in a case of rape against an under-age girl. Every year thousands of cases involving underage girls and even minors become victims of rapes and sexual batteries are being reported to and registered with police.

Not only rape but some have even been killed in fear of being exposed in such heinous acts. During police investigation on rape charge, the incident of committing forceful rape against minor under persuasion and arousal is mostly disclosed later.

As of mid-February 2022 from the beginning of the current fiscal year, Nepal Police registered 1,051 rape over minors and young girls. Of them, the highest number of rape cases were registered under the age 11 to 16 with 508 cases. The girl, who is said to be a victim of Shah, also falls in the same age group. 189 fall in the age group from 17-18, 195 from 19-25 and 159 in the age group from 0-10.

On February 27, when Shah reached the police office in Tanahun to surrender himself over the rape charge, the Morang District Police had also detained Deepak Giri, 64, of Letang Municipality-8 of Morang, on the charge of murder after raping a 12-year-old girl.

The relatives had informed the police after a sixth grade girl did not return home from school on February 23. After two days of searching, the body of the girl was found covered with stones at Lal Hira Community Forest of Letang Municipality-8, three km south of the girl’s home.

Also, at the end of January 2022, a girl was raped by her own teacher in Khotang. Kishwor Pokhrel, 31, of Rawabeshi Rural Municipality-2 was arrested on charge of raping a 14-year-old school girl and making her 20 weeks pregnant. Police arrested the accused teacher on the basis of a complaint lodged by the victim’s father.

Be it consent or otherwise, underage rape is rape

“There is just one single definition and meaning of the forceful rape and under-age sex below 18 years in Nepal,” senior advocate Lab Kumari Mainali said. “Whether it has happened at one’s will or against, it is considered as forceful rape according to our law (Criminal Code Act),” said Mainali.

He said that the definition of forceful rape does not differ depending on age and person involved. “Having the same understanding, artist Shah has been languishing in judicial custody from March 24 under the order of the District Court, Tanahun,” Mainali said.

Another similar incident took place in Morang on March 11 while Shah was under police detention before he was sent to a judicial custody. The girl was a minor of just 18 months, who was raped and later killed. Ajaya Chaudhary, 25, and Mithun Chaudhary, 28, of Morang Sundar Haraicha Municipality-7 were arrested in suspicion.

The minor had gone missing while playing at her own home on the day. The girl was found totally in unconscious and injured situation at around 6 pm of the same day of the incident at Ganeshpur Banamara area of Sundar Haraicha Municipality-7 of Morang. She died next day in a hospital.

Over 1,000 rape cases registered with police
If the data by Nepal Police Headquarters is anything to go by, over 1,000 girls become victims of forceful rape and sexual batteries every year. Lately, the incidence of rape has been increasing across the country, said police.

Out of 856 total rape cases registered in the last seven months of the current fiscal year till mid-February, 508 children from 11- to 16-year-old had become victims.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and Spokesperson for the Police Headquarters Bishnu Kumar KC, 159 girls below the age of 10 had been raped till mid-February. The number of forceful rape between the age of 17 to 18 is 189. Similarly, a boy had become the victim of pedophilia.

Likewise, in the fiscal year 2077/78 B.S (2021/22 A.D.), 1,665 girls had been raped, according to police report. Of them, the number of girls between the age of 11 to 16 was 1,016. Similarly, the number of girls under 10 years was 305. The number of rape victims was 344 in the age group of 17 to 18 years in the year 2077/78 B.S.

In the fiscal year 2076/77 (2020/21), 1,393 girls had become victim of forceful rape. Of the total cases, most were girls in the age group of 10 to 16 years. During that fiscal, out of 1,393 cases, 801 girls had become rape victims in the age group from 10 to 16 years. The number of victims below 10 was 273. The number of girls between the ages of 17 and 18 was 319.
Similarly, in the year 2075/76 (2019/20), 889 girls from age group 11-16 had been forcefully raped, and
590 in the fiscal year 2074/75 B.S. (2018/19).

Punishment to perpetrators
If the court proves the case of under-age rape, the punishment varies according to the age group. But, if a girl is below ten-year-old, man/men will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Section 219 of the Chapter 18 of the Criminal (Code) Act-2017 A.D. defines that if a girl under the age of 10 is found to have been raped, the accused is liable to imprisonment for 16 to 20 years. Similarly, if a girl between the ages of 10 and 14 is found to have been raped, the person will be sentenced to 14 to 16 years in prison.

Further, if found guilty of raping a girl between the ages of 14 and 16, the convict is liable to imprisonment for 12 to 14 years.
If convicted of raping a girl of 16 or above, the person is liable to imprisonment for 10 to 12 years. There is a provision of imprisonment for 7 to 10 years if a person raped a girl aged 18 or above.

Identify sexual violence hotspots
There is a need to conduct targeted and public awareness programmes by identifying and analysing the areas where sexual violence can take place.
Experts have suggested that there is a great need to launch a social campaign to prevent violence as the effect of sexual violence will remain in the girl and child for the rest of her life and its consequences will be felt indirectly not only by the victim but also her children. In addition to this, there have been occasional demands to provide psycho-social counseling to the victims.

Strict laws, vigilance vital
Sociologist Dr. Mina Upreti said that young girls are becoming victims of sexual violence because sexual abuse has not become a subject of study in our culture and in practice, the family members have not even learned and educated their children about it. She said that sex education should be given in school textbooks from early on.

‘In some cases, the teacher does not like to teach matters on sex. There is a tendency to ask students to study at home. She also said that the family has a big hand in reducing sexual violence.
It is important to teach immature girls what violence is and how to resist it, said Upreti. “In our society, when a woman makes a rape case public, she is more likely to be ostracised than to be helped,” she said.