By Mengyou Tang
Durga Sob, a representative from Feminist Dalit Organization, Nepal, gives a speech in CSW on March 7, 2013. Dalit is a minority group and a low class in Nepal. Durga talks about the violence and socioeconomic status of Dalit women and girls, and what the government has done and need to improve in the future.
Durga brings some significant statistics. 20% Dalit women do not understand what violence means. Only 4.4% reported to police who felt violence. 45.5% have felt violence while working outside their homes. 12.4% of Dalit women are attacked physically in their homes. Only 5% of them sought for help from formal institutions. From the percentages listed above, we may easily find violence’s happening basically dues to the unawareness of women resulting from their illiteracy or tacit acquiescence. In terms of NGO and government’s response to violence, she points out several laws such as Domestic Violence (Crime and Punishment) Act, 2008, Gender Equality Acts 2063 and NAP enacted by government (1325 & 1820). Also, she mentions some institutions like National Women Commission, Gender Unit, Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and District Resource Group.
Though the laws and institutions have shown some positive effects on eliminating discrimination on Dalit women and further prevent sexual violence from occurring, the vulnerable group still face with big challenges. First, since local government shows little interest in Dalit empowerment programs and Dalit programs, other government sectors, police administration for example, do not register the cases regarding the domestic violence, caste-based discrimination and so on. Second, according to Nepali law very few domestic violence-related cases can be settled through mediation. Third, women of remote areas especially Dalit women are not aware about the legal violence. Therefore, not only the Nepal government and legislation department, but also education and propaganda departments need to tack actions to improve the awareness of going against sexual violence among Dalit group, especially women, and the whole society.