In our society, the word ‘masculinity’ is associated with power, being brave and strong and being authoritative whereas ‘femininity’ is linked to caring and nurturing, having a low voice sacrificing and compromising. The qualities in male which make them masculine always denotes robust nature and neutral emotions. A popular example would be: Shrian, a 5 year old boy falls on his knees on the ground and cries. His mom in trying to console him says “Don’t cry Shrian, don’t cry like a girl”. He thinks crying makes him weak. The next time he falls down, he tries hard not to cry. He thinks less of girls at school and teases them.
Today, only being physically strong is not the definition of power, so why are feminine qualities being considered weaker in the society? In the primitive days of mankind, it was beneficial to be huge, muscular and hardcore to thrive and lead, but now the one who is likely to lead is the one who is more creative, more innovative and more intelligent and there are no hormones for those attributes.
Women in Nepal are taught to be tolerant, compromising and adjusting for matters like domestic violence, abuse or rape. She is taught to suppress her own desires and interests over her family and in-laws.
In the present context, one of the main reasons for the rampant increase in women violence like brainwashing of children for marriage, dowry burning, witchcraft accusations, and discrimination in education and so on can be blamed to be the patriarchal society. Our society is structured in such a way that authoritarian roles and decision making power is carried out by only the males. Few women as political leaders, who can be named on our fingertips, shows us an example of this structure.
With gender based beliefs already prevalent in our society, the patriarchal society is the fire that normalizes women violence. According to CBS 2011, the literacy rate of Nepal is 65.9%, among which the literacy rate in male is 75.1% in comparison to 57.4% in females. Though patriarchy is a highlighted factor for women violence, it cannot be alone. Ignorance of VAW (Violence Against Women) laws , lack of implementation of stringent laws, loopholes in justice system at local, regional and national levels, no system for monitoring of clients’ situations can be some factors for VAW.
Narrowing down the cases of women violence to today, we can see increasing trend of rapes, cases where infants and girl child are being raped makes the headlines of the news almost everyday.
According to Nepal Police, 1480 registered rape cases were reported in 2017/2018 which when compared to the last year 1131 (Himalayan Times Aug 17, 2018) has increased by 30.86%. If this pace does not subside these figures are likely only to rise by next year until we really take a deep look into these matters.
To take these matters forward a social worker should be introduced to the problem. A social worker can take a holistic approach to reduce the causes of such horrendous acts because only stringent laws and raising voice on the streets have not been enough. There are plethora of cases for research purposes to evaluate the possible causes and effects of these crimes. Experts should be hired to perform high levels of professional work.
According to one the best seller Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People?’, the criminals rarely consider themselves as criminals no matter the nature of their crimes and will have some explanation as to why they are innocent. The same must be the case for people committing rapes in Nepal as well. A study on criminal psychology backs this argument by explaining about the ‘techniques of neutralization’ (A report by Nick Chester on Vice)
Here, the psychologists play a major role in collecting data. They can interview the victims and the culprits when these individuals’ psychological state is normal or not altered so that the research work is authentic. With psychologists interviewing and surveying various individuals more data can be produced for the researchers, researchers can speculate and infer a general set of causes by evaluating behavioral patterns. So, these professional personnel working towards common goals like finding the causes of heartbreaking crimes like rape will bring forth better chances to analyze the major causes and help reduce them.
Similarly, psychologists can also work with social workers to determine the effects of these events on various individuals and groups such as victims, victim’s family, culprits and their families, neighbors and public. In research works like these, they can work as a facilitator to make the victims aware of the benefits of such research works being carried and a moderator by sharing information about victims and events to psychologists to schedule interviews and surveys accordingly.
The social workers can collaborate with the influencers in entertainment industry to educate about the causes and consequences that rapes are having on various groups of people and in our society. Educational message through songs, movies and videos can spread far more effectively and widely than only through awareness programs by social workers at certain places. Influencers, who raise voices and those who get involved in the upliftment and empowerment from the related campaigns and causes, are selected as role models. It will help to influence not only people in the short-run but in long-run as well.
A trending topic in news channels, newspapers and magazines to feeds by social media sites has also click-baited the topic of increasing rapes for discussion. This pours in people wanting to question of the causes of the skyrocketing number of rapes in their society.
It opens two way conversation platforms for figuring possible reasons and implications it has on victims, families, and the society. Thus, there is an urge to recognize patterns and prevent the future courses of events.
Given the current circumstances and its unfolding series of events, we can deduce that individuals in our nation are not oblivious to sufferings of harassment and abuse they’ve endured. Yet in a country where global movements like #MeToo, #HearMetoo should be in highlight, they are a non-starter. It is bound to dim its light under the burning #RageAgainstRape.
Although rape cases has been gaining new altitudes & been in much hype the past couple months, they still have become uncontrollable wildfires. Nirmala’s case still getting no justice yet, has startled the nation and adds fuel to the flame. Thus, it is high time that a raging problem like rape to be taken seriously not only with fierce actions but through deep introspection towards resolvement.