Women Facing Insecurities from Relatives Within Their Own Home

June 19, 2024 By: INSEC

The trauma of experiencing sexual assault from relatives inside their own homes, such as fathers, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, or sons, leaves women feeling isolated. They cannot seek comfort at home or from other family members. These women, who have experienced repeated assaults by their relatives, desperately want to talk about the stress and suffering they endure, but often find themselves unable to speak out. Instead, they express their pain through tears, as there is no one else who truly understands what they are going through.

A 19-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her father has been carrying a burden of pain after her traumatic experience. Additionally, the relatives blaming her for the incidents leave her struggling to live her life with a feeling of loneliness. The girl born in a normal family, was repeatedly raped by her father for three years since she was studying in grade seven to grade 10. The girl explained that despite their family’s weak financial condition, she somehow got to attend the school. They were a family of four, her younger brother, her mother her father, and herself. She added that she used to return home from school and help her mother with her household work. It used to be nine, or ten o’clock in the night when she completed her homework after dinner. Her father would subsequently come and rape her after her mother and brother were asleep. At just the age of 16, she struggled with the nightmare and confusion of why her father would treat her in such a horrifying manner. She constantly thought about whether she should tell this to anyone or not, whether others would believe it or not. This continued for three years. One day the mother came to know about this and discussed the matter with a neighbor. Subsequently, she told her everything that had happened following her mother questioning her about the incident. They filed a complaint against the father at the Police Office and the District Court later sentenced him to 25-year imprisonment. The victim is now residing in a women’s rehabilitation center and has been experiencing growing feelings of loneliness. She shares that the pain intensifies when her relatives and friends blame her for what happened.

Similarly, a 20-year-old girl was raped by her 71-year-old paternal uncle in sheepfold. The girl who did not even get to go to school used to work at home grazing sheep. The victim stated that the accused threatened her, warning that it would not be in her best interest to disclose the incident to anyone. Subsequently, she became pregnant after the incident. There was no one to support her, as only her mother was at home and her brother had gone to India for work. Having said that, her mother filed a complaint at the District Police Office for justice after the society blamed the victim for what had happened. However, the accused has not been arrested yet as he is still absconding. The victim gave birth to a daughter at the Women’s Rehabilitation Center, Chautara. The born daughter is currently kept in a children’s home, however, the victim could not been reintegrated back into her home yet.

Likewise, a 30-year-old woman was raped by her 29-year-old brother-in-law after the death of her husband. The victim subsequently got pregnant and faced bitterness from her own family. The victim later filed a police complaint and got the accused arrested. The victim gave birth to a daughter while staying in a rehabilitation home. She expressed feeling rejected by her family. Additionally, she expressed concerns about who would care for both herself and her child when they fall ill.

Another case involves a 38-year-old woman raped by her 21-year-old step-son is living a difficult life. She was forced to leave her home after the incident and is currently sustaining her life along with her daughter by washing dishes in a hotel located in Helambu Rural Municipality. The victim says that despite the accused being in jail, she had to leave her home because locals blamed her for the incident.

A 36-year-old woman was repeatedly raped by her 62-year-old father-in-law and 31-year-old brother-in-law. With the help of the villagers, the victim filed a police complaint. The victim expressed that she is still afraid because the district court has released the accused on bail. Following the rape, she was residing in a women’s safe house and gave birth to a son. The victim and her son are currently living in Bhaktapur, where she does household chores in exchange for accommodation. She stated that she is unable to return home as she is neglected by her husband, and blamed by society.

A 28-year-old woman was raped by her 29-year-old nephew. The victim filed a complaint at the police station. However, after the District Court released the accused on bail, the victim expressed disappointment, feeling she did not receive justice. She mentioned that she was compelled to marry someone else and leave her home after being neglected by her own family and being blamed by her in-laws.

A seven-year-old minor, who was raped by her 66-year-old grandfather has developed health problems exacerbated by the lack of support and love from her family. The accused passed away from cardiac arrest shortly after the incident came to light. The victim, deprived of her family’s support after the incident, is currently residing in a children’s home. According to the director of the facility, she has been facing health challenges from a young age.

A 14-year-old girl had to be displaced after being raped by her 38-year-old father. The victim is currently under the protection of Raksha Nepal, Kathmandu.

The incidents mentioned above are the stories of women from Sindhupalchok who were victimized by their family members. These are just a few representative examples, many similar incidents have not been brought to light in society.

Harikala Bhatta, Chief of Women’s Rehabilitation Center, Chautara, said that the victims of such incidents have to leave their homes, have no guarantee of housing, and have to live with the help of others.

Similarly, DSP Niranjan Bhattarai of the District Police Office reported that according to their statistics for the last three years, 40 women were victims of rape in Sindhupalchowk in 2021, 23 women in 2022, and 25 women in 2023. DSP Bhattarai added that cases of rape committed by family members often go unreported due to fears of dishonor and concern about damaging the family’s reputation.

DSP Bhattarai argues that conducting public awareness programs in Rural Municipalities will be effective in reducing incidents of such heinous crimes that occur within households.

 

- Natibabu Dhital