‘We, as a society, have kept quiet on sexual harassment, abuse and violence so far’The Kantipur Conclave on Monday held a discussion session on gender equity.
The Kantipur Conclave on Monday held a discussion session on gender equity.
Luna Ranjit, Co-founder of Adhikaar, Nayan Tara Gurung Kakshapati, Co-founder of photo.circle, and author Sanjeev Uprety shared their views with Journalist Subina Shrestha on the topic: When will women be equal to men?
Speaking at the session, Ranjit said, “We have to face discrimination and challenges because of caste, class and colour even in Kathmandu. We now must question ourselves—are we incorporating others while breaking these challenges?”
She further underscored the need to identify the real recipients of initiatives taken as part of the feminist movement and whom these initiations are aimed at.
When moderator Shrestha asked Upreti about why men are scared of powerful women, Upreti replied that such a blanket statement cannot be applied to all men and that people regardless of their sex are intimidated with the success of women. “I don’t think men are scared with the success of women. We, as a society, condition our boys to behave in certain ways which fails to highlight the fact that even women can be successful so that when he grows up and finds himself surrounded by successful women, he becomes anxious,” said Upreti.
Responding to a question about the state’s unwillingness to address the issue of sexual violence, Gurung said that in most cases sexual violence starts at the victims’ home. She emphasised on the lack of media intervention in that sexual violence cases are not given the required space to be heard; most headlines related to sexual violence appear only after a victim is beyond help.
“Sexual violence is discussed in public space and forums only after the victim is brutally murdered after rape. Sexual violence is happening in many households or in many societies as well,” she said.
She said that sexual harassment, abuse and violence has been happening for far too long but we, as a society, have kept quiet.
“We have been hiding these issues since childhood because we have been told that these issues should not be discussed in the public sphere,” she said.
Gurung further highlighted the fact that boys and men too fall prey to sexual violence and that this aspect of the issue also needs to be talked about. She said that now that the #MeToo movement has been gathering momentum in Nepal, people from all walks of life must take this opportunity to talk about sexual violence publicly as a step towards ending this malpractice.