“It’s just a stare, don’t worry although you dressed-up that way to be stared at.” “It’s just one time eve teasing, don’t worry, but you know those dresses draw men’s attention.” “It’s just a slap, don’t worry, maybe you did something wrong, be careful next time.” “It’s just one time hitting, don’t worry. Actually, he was drunk. He might have been out of control. Such things happen, don’t make a big deal out of it.”
Why do we generalize harm from one human to another? Why does almost half of the population have to suffer in silence? Why does half of the population have to be confined to kitchens, within the four walls of their houses? Why is misogyny normalized?
According to a recent research entitled “Response to Gender Based Violence in the Covid-19 Context in Nepal,” done in the duration of 24 months (August 2020–August 2022), “one in five women aged 15-49 experienced physical violence, one in four married women experienced spousal physical, sexual or emotional violence in her lifetime.” According to the same research, 31 percent male respondents believe that it is acceptable to beat their wives for disobedience, 66 percent of gender based violence (GBV) survivors have not sought any help or talked with anyone about resisting or stopping the violence they experience.
Victim blaming is one of the most intriguing factors that makes the moral of the victim down. Most women don’t speak up for themselves after being victimized because they think if they do so they will be defined through those sufferings. They think their suffering will remain with themselves forever because society will keep reminding them in one way or the other. All the people in the society have been taught to wear the glass of patriarchy and normalize it.
Paradoxically, there are more goddesses than gods, there are plenty of rights, conventions and awareness programs conducted everyday to create a better space for women. Some people keep questioning: “Despite the fact there are more laws why are feminists still talking about their rights?” They do so because they have the privilege to ask the question, because they have never had the situation to face it and they ignore what they see. No woman who has suffered would dare to ask such a question.
Despite having several laws in place, women are underpaid for the same job and qualification. They are forced to live in seclusion during their menstrual cycle, they have the obligation to return home early, they have to bear the responsibility of their children more than their male counterparts. At home, they are required to be more understanding and considerate in relationships. But when it comes to higher positions, they are considered not qualified enough. This is the fate many women in Nepal and elsewhere are going through.
There have been tremendous changes in terms of women’s rights if we look into history but it all happened because people didn’t stop raising their voice against disparity. But to bring out more changes, we must raise our voices until we eradicate this disparity.
As 16 days of activism is going on with the theme ‘UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls,’ women must stand united to raise their voices against disparity.