Suicide rate among Tarai women on rise: ReportWhile practices of dowry, child marriage and witchcraft in the Tarai often come under media glare, incidents of suicide in the region have remained under reported.
While practices of dowry, child marriage and witchcraft in the Tarai often come under media glare, incidents of suicide in the region have remained under reported.
There was a single case reported to police related to dowry, while 2,094 cases of women committing suicide in the past five years. During the same period, 13 cases of child marriage and 29 cases of witchcraft were reported in the Tarai districts.
A study on gender-based violence (GBV) conducted by Nepal Police in nine Tarai districts—Bara, Parsa, Dhanusha, Morang, Saptari, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur—shows an upsurge in the number of suicide cases. The figures have jumped from 365 reported cases in 2010 to 498 in 2014. In comparison only 241 cases of rape and 264 cases of polygamy were reported during the period in the districts. Rape, attempt to rape, abortion, child marriage, polygamy, trafficking, dowry, kidnapping, illegal abortion and suicide are categorised as GBV.
With 120 reported cases of suicide, Kailali was on unenviable top position in 2014, followed by Bardiya (69) and Kanchanpur (67), according to the report. Kailali also has the highest cumulative reported cases of suicide of 494 in the last five years.
Right activists point out poverty and cultural practices-dowry and other forms of violence both physical and psychological-as the main reasons behind the increasing trend of suicide among women in the Tarai.
“In most of the cases, women have no say in anything and the practice of confining them within boundary of the house makes them feel helpless,” said Manu Humagain, acting president of the National Women Commission. “The difficulty of parents in meeting dowry demands are often found as the leading cause for women committing suicide.”
Humagain claimed that other forms of violence against women were also much higher than actual reported cases. “Women suffer silently in the name of family honour and such cases go unreported. But suicide cannot be hidden and hence up goes the number,” she said.