- Created on Thursday, 24 May 2012 12:23
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Women in Nepal are demanding protection from sexual harassment and violence against women. They say that sexual harassment has become an everyday issue for women in Nepal, particularly in urban areas.
Recently they held a demonstration demanding for their protection. Women dressed in short skirts and leggings carried signs demanding change toward sexual harassment in public spaces and in the workplace.
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”. They also 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 fine of 120 U.S.Dollars and sometimes jail, but the legislation, they said 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 awaiting discussion by lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the women are also being blamed for the rise of harassment due to the provocative attire being worn by them nowadays. Commentators say if one wears vulgar dresses and appears unnatural and gets stared at by people around, it is the women who are to be blamed. Women’s rights groups have countered this claim saying that wearing short skirts and no leggings does not mean that they can be groped, touched and violated.(niz)