As rage against sexual misconduct against a beauty pageant participant continues to rise in Nepal, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has directed the government to take strict action after a thorough investigation of the issue.
Addressing the house on Friday, House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota said that serious attention has been drawn to the case and ordered the government to act.
“Serious attention has been drawn to an incident of sexual harassment. In regards to that, an immediate investigation to find out the facts and book the perpetrator under the purview of the law. I hereby direct the Government of Nepal,” House Speaker Sapkota directed.
Before the ruling by the House Speaker, Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Kumar Thapa drew the Speaker’s attention to the matter amidst deliberations on the principles and priorities of the Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2022-23.
“Last evening, while I was back to my home along with my spouse and two daughters, were watching the video circulating on social media where a young woman was stating a harrowing account of rape that took place 8 years before. I could see the reaction of my daughter, she was sacred after seeing the video, I still am being dragged to that moment. Before entering the topic of budget, I hereby request the honourable house speaker to immediately bring the alleged into the investigation by directing the government,” Thapa said.
“The law introduced against the rape and sexual misconduct which falls under the criminal code especially the provision about the statutory cover cases of misconducts be reconsidered requesting the honourable house speaker by issuing a direct order,” he added.
Protests have continued to erupt in Nepal after a video went viral on social media in which a girl who participated in a beauty pageant in 2014 relieved her harrowing experience of being raped multiple times by the pageant organizer.
The incident came to light after a woman aged 24 years uploaded a 20-part video series on social media in which she alleged that the organizer of the beauty pageant that she had participated in when she was 16-year-old had drugged and raped and also blackmailed her.
Demonstrators mainly have been demanding an extension of the statute of limitation and the existing penalties in cases of sexual abuse against women. The survivor, in the video, has also accused the organizer of drugging, raping and blackmailing her.
“He called me to attend the success party, but there was no one there. He asked me to wait,” the rape survivor says in the video which has taken social media by storm.
She further explained on record that a waiter came up to her and gave her lemonade as a welcome drink. After drinking it, she felt dizzy and asked the organizer if she could go home, but he told her she had to stay because she was a winner.
In her account, the survivor claims to have looked out for help but was ignored. The victim claimed that she went through a lot. Her mental health took a battering as she battled depression. She looked for an escape, but all she found were men who either demeaned her or took advantage of her.
She told a few people about this, who asked her to go to the police, but Nepal’s law meant she could not. The statute of limitations for rape in Nepal is one year, which means you can only file a complaint within one year.
Her mental health further deteriorated. She could not find a proper therapist. The incident broke her entire well-being to the point a few months ago, she attempted to kill herself to end the suffering she was going through.
But, she survived and following that she decided to speak out so others would not be victimized as she did. (ANI)