Assaults against women in quake affected districts of Nepal ‘on the rise’

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - The incidence of sexual assault against women and other gender-based violence (GBV) in the earthquake affected districts are on the rise, according to rights organisations.

Seventeen-year-old Shivani (name changed) from Bhaktapur was molested while living in a temporary shelter after the April 25, 2015 earthquake.

“A man living next to our tent used to follow me. One evening, he molested me when I was in the lavatory,” she said.

Shivani kept the incident secret for months. In the meantime, she stopped going to the lavatory all by herself, fearing she would be assaulted again.

The incidence of sexual assault against women and other gender-based violence (GBV) in the earthquake affected districts are on the rise, according to rights organisations.

A staggering 472 GBV cases were reported from female-friendly spaces set up by rights organisations in 12 districts in the wake of the earthquake, said Women Rehabilitation Centre. Twenty-one of these cases were related to sexual assaults.

Similarly, Women for Human Rights (WHR) recorded 20 GBV cases in Gorkha district.

Inter Party Woman Alliance (IPWA), a network of female politicians, also recorded several GBV cases in temporary shelters.

“Abrupt change in lifestyle due to the disaster had kept the victims from coming out. But now that life is getting back to normal, such cases are coming to light,” said Uma Thapa, communication officer of WHR.

Thapa said besides GBV cases, a large number of women were also denied relief and left out while documenting the earthquake victims for identity card distribution.

Sashi Shrestha, president of IPWA, said many women have been left to fend for themselves because they were not listed as the victims of the earthquake.

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