Advocates for women were excited last year when they heard that changes were coming to Nepal’s rape law, which has long been criticized as ineffective. On this show we spoke to youth activists who had met with the attorney general and other lawmakers and were energized and excited by the process. But when the ordinance containing the revisions was signed by the president, not all of the rumoured improvements were there. Left out was removal of the statute of limitations that says a rape charge must be filed within one year and broadening of the scope of victims of rape to include men, boys and persons of other genders.
So what happened? My reading and discussion afterwards led me to believe that entrenched women’s groups had been defending their turf: they didn’t want the focus to turn from women as the only possible victims of rape, and risk losing attention and resources for their work. But as today’s conversation with Anita Thapalia from the Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre reveals, it was more complex than that.
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Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.
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