Sexual assaults are becoming more common throughout the world. No other major category of crime – not murder, robbery has generated more serious challenge as evidenced from national crime statistics than rape.
In Nepal one rape case takes place in every 54 minutes as reported by “The women’s foundations of Nepal.” The criminal mindset within the human being is the prime cause behind such violence against children and women both in rural and urban areas.
In this context we had an opportunity to interact with the aspiring lawyers of “National college of Law”, Bakhundole who are the future lawyers and judges of judicial bodies responsible and decisive to provide justice to the victims.
Our questions to them was:
“Do you think that the existing laws for punishing the rape assaults is justifiable to the victim?
What is your opinion and what should be the amendment?
How is the present development in Nepal with this regard?
What should be done to reduce it?”
The most crucial punishment for the guilty can be “sentence to death” but while doing so the worth of life of the guilty is also the matter of concern. In many cases there may be lack of evidence or it may be misleading. So, the proper investigation must be done before punishing anybody.
Law has that, those guilty of raping girls below 14 years get 6 -10 years of prison, and those raping girls above 14 get 3- 5 years prison. The punishment has been reduced than before. In my view, imprisonment should be increased.
No, the existing laws for punishing the rape assaults is not justifiable to the victim. Proactive policies and bringing the guilty to justice are not enough to fight such crimes and we cannot choose a particular punishment for them.
There are not less policies in our country but it lacks implementation. Moreover, male dominance is linked to rape in patriarchal social culture and people lack awareness in such regards, so if we really want such crimes to be decreased then massive awareness is needed.
There are always two sides in every aspect of the things we face in life. That is prevention and cure of the problem.
Prevention must be focused in providing comprehensive sex education to the students, awareness programs and campaigns regarding sexuality must be organized.
Cure is secondary, in a sense that prevention is always the better way we can take. If it works then no punishments and judgments are needed because the crimes will eventually get reduced. Still the punishments can be imprisonment until death.
In many parts of the world, rape is rarely reported due to the extreme social stigma. The accused has often gone free because of poor evidence gathering as well as lacking in law. The victim has to deal with emotional effects (anger, self-blame, anxiety, shame, nightmares, etc.) as well as economic effects like not having enough money for treatment. The justice for the victim can be made by punishing the guilty in addition to providing emotional as well as economical compensation.
Rape is a heinous act. People know it is wrong but also there is significant increase in the incidence. This is the era of modernization and people want to be liberal in such aspects.
Until and unless people have to search places to talk about the sexual issues this things may not reduce. Liberalism takes time to prevail. But until and unless it is not there, no policies and laws are going to work out in reducing such things.
We get to see many cases of rapes in newspaper nowadays but there are still many cases that have not come out yet.
Main things we have to focus on are the awareness because most of the victims do not know the case of assault should be filed within 35 days of the assault. What if they failed to report?
Such provisions are unrealistic often. Reality is victim within 35 days may or may not be able to come out of the emotional traumas. There are lots of policies regarding assaults but still the supervision about the implementation is poor .There should be monitoring mechanisms throughout the country to supervise whether the laws are implemented or not. A person committing such things should be fined in high amount.
Though many things need to be done to provide justice to all the victims of sexual assault, various changes have given some hope for justice. Due to the active legislative and judicial actions, major changes have been made in this approach. There are various measures to be taken by investigative officers and healthcare providers in the process of rehabilitation and in the case of sexual assaults.
Some recommendations for the government policy can be; fast track way for reporting such crimes must be made. There exists the problem that if a woman/man get raped in a district then there should be a provision for reporting it in any other districts too.
A new panel code bill being considered by the parliament proposes to extend the maximum length of life imprisonment from 20 to 30 years. The bill states that if somebody rapes and kills a person, the guilty will be given prison sentence until death. If the bill is enacted and implemented, it would be a step further in the judicial reforms of this highly isolated yet very important and sensitive issue.
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