WP 4.1 Violence, Trauma, And Women’s Health – Gabby Wahla

In the video War on Women, we saw many men recounting their experiences raping women in Congo, but all of them had a similar notion that they did not know that what they were doing was wrong because no one had told them it was. In Nepal, a similar thing is going on where people are blatantly ignoring the fact that women are abused regularly. The Nepalese government did a survey and found that 22 percent of women ages 15 to 49 reported experiencing physical violence and 12 percent experienced sexual violence. One third of married women “had experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence from their spouse in their marital relationship.” This data does not seem too staggering, but think about all the women who chose to not answer the survey, had husbands prevent them from taking the survey, or were unable to take the survey due to the heavy beating they had already gotten.

Many reports regarding this domestic violence attribute it to the low status of women. Women in Nepal are required to do all the housework while their husbands relax after work. When girls begin menstruation, they are sent away from their homes and families because it is seen as taboo if a girl is around her loved ones or in a house because she can curse them. Because of this entire week of being shunned from their community, many girls drop out of school and begin working in their households with their mothers until they are married off. A woman’s job is to clean, cook, do housework, watch the children, and make more children. Therefore, men, who have the actual chance to be educated, get jobs and see themselves as much better than their wives, which means they can abuse them.

Women who are fortunate enough to be able to walk through the long rough terrain of Nepal to get to the medical clinics do find solitude from abuse there. It is very difficult for anything to be done about abuse at home, due to the fact that no one talks about it, and women still have little to no rights or education.

In 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal, there was a hackathon where hackers hoped to provide information about violence against women, tracking violence against women, and to prevent the violence overall. This idea is to make it more accessible for all Nepalese people, even younger children. If all generations can see the data and hear about the project, perhaps it can be phased out with generations yet to come. However, the goal of the hackathon was to prevent abuse now. One of the main goals of the hackathon was to “raise awareness of domestic violence and its impact on society among a broader sector of the population” (Hackathon Website). I think that this idea is very clever because many people will have the capability of seeing the information, and it could help them stand up for a woman they know being abused, or it could help a man see that he should not be abusing his wife.

Overall, just like the video in the Congo, making people aware of abuse is the only way to stop it. Many Nepalese men do not know that it is wrong, so projects like the Hackathon provide information about it, just like the video make with the former Congo soldiers and rape victims. The reframing of the violence towards the women provides a new understanding of women in the culture, and could allow them to do more for themselves, and even possibly reconfigure the hierarchy of genders in Nepalese culture. If men begin to understand why it is wrong to abuse women, they might also understand that menstruation in not taboo, which would lead to more girls going to school, then women having jobs. If women were to be able to have jobs in Nepal, the family dynamic could be altered so that there could be equal emphasis on the husband and wife to do housework and work at a job and raise the children. With one simple change to how people view each other in society with just a little bit of information, everything could change and better the lives of all Nepalese women.

Works Cited

“DATA ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN NEPAL.” Violence Against Women Hackathon. World Bank Group, 16 June 2013. Web. 28 July 2016.

Paudel, Giridhari Sharma. “Domestic Violence against Women in Nepal.” Domestic Violence against Women in Nepal. Gender Technology and Development, May 2007. Web. 28 July 2016.

Thapa, Kusum. “Women in Nepal Face Abuse, but the Real Problem Is Nobody Wants to Talk About It.” TakePart. Participant Media, 23 July 2015. Web. 28 July 2016.

“Violence against Women and Girls: Engaging the Other Half of the Population.” UNFPA Nepal. UNFPA, 20 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 July 2016.

One thought on “WP 4.1 Violence, Trauma, And Women’s Health – Gabby Wahla

  1. I’m so glad you mentioned the inaccuracies involved in women’s surveys. I thought about this too when I was looking at studies that only got their data from personal statements and how this could be the source of ignorance in many countries. I think this is how women’s health and safety gets underestimated and leads to apathy and inaction. It is already uncomfortable to talk about these topics because people don’t want to take responsibility, but it makes it even more difficult when the realities of the situations are downplayed in the first place.
    To someone who has been privileged with the proper education and access to medical care, it seems ridiculous that there are still entire cultures that believe menstruation is dirty and gives girls the ability to curse family members. But this is the reality and its frustrating that there is such a simple fix that hasn’t already taken hold; education. Similarly, many abusive situations go on uninterrupted because people aren’t aware that what they’re doing is abusive. And we come full circle with making these important issues well known.

    Thanks for sharing!

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