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Protests erupt in Nepal after 24-year-old alleges rape by beauty pageant organiser, 8 years ago

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Kathmandu | May 20, 2022 8:54:44 PM IST
Social activists staged a protest near Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's residence here on Friday over the sexual abuse cases in Nepal and demanded justice for the victims of the crimes.

Dozens of people gathered to demonstrate after a video went viral on social media in which a girl who participated in a beauty pageant in 2014 relieved her harrowing experience of being raped multiple times by the pageant organiser

Demonstrators were chanting slogans and demanding an extension of the statute of limitation and the existing penalties in cases of sexual abuse against women.

"The most important one that has to be done with the statute of limitation that is only for one year. The victims/the survivors are not allowed to file cases to demand justice once their statute of limitation crosses. One cannot limit or define the trauma the people have faced by limiting it to a timeframe," Sagun Vetwal, one of the demonstrators told ANI.

The slogans chanted by the protesters include: "this oppressive state is a rapist", and "Increase the statute of limitation". The protesters also carried placards with messages such as "Hold Perpetrators Accountable," "Remove statute of limitations for rape and sexual violence," and "Enable fast track courts for rape and sexual violence."

The incident came to light after a woman aged 24 years uploaded a 20-part video series on social media in which she alleged that the organiser of the beauty pageant that she had participated in when she was 16 year-old had drugged and raped her and also blackmailed her.

Vetwal further said: "I think she is just one representation of many other cases in the country. We are going to see wave of women and girls who have survived, come out-share their experiences and this is just the start demanding justice and reforms in for rape laws in the country."

The survivor, in the video has also accused the organiser of drugging, raping and blackmailing her.

"He called me to attend the success party, but there was no one there. He asked me to wait," the rape survivor says in the video which has took social media by storm.

She further explained on record that a waiter came up to her and gave her lemonade as a welcome drink. After drinking it, she felt dizzy and asked the organizer if she could go home, but he told her she had to stay because she was a winner.

In her account, the survivor claims to have looked out for help but was ignored. The victim claimed that she went through a lot. Her mental health took a battering as she battled depression. She looked for an escape, but all she found were men who either demeaned her or took advantage of her.

She told a few people about this, who asked her to go to the police, but Nepal's law meant she could not. The statute of limitations for rape in Nepal is one year, which means you can only file a complaint within one year.

Her mental health further deteriorated. She could not find a proper therapist. The incident broke her entire well-being to the point a few months ago, she attempted to kill herself to end the suffering she was going through. But, she survived and following that she decided to speak out so others would not be victimised as she did.

After the video circulated on social media, the Nepal Police started an investigation into the case. (ANI)

 
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