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Nepali Police Don’t Help Rape Victims

March 14, 2011

After five men gang raped her, Gauri Yadav thought she was doing the right thing by going to the police. Boy, was she ever wrong. Rather than helping her seek justice, the police are choosing to exist in a state of torpor and twiddle their thumbs, while “she and her husband have been targeted and harassed repeatedly by the alleged perpetrators for filing a police complaint.”

Yadav described to Human Rights Watch how she was taken from her relative’s house, kicked to the ground, and stripped naked by her attackers. They used her sari to tie her arms to restrain her and tied her scarf around her mouth to smother her screams for help. Then, she said, two men held her down: “First, one raped me. After he got off of me, the second one raped me, then the third and fourth. The last person grabbed my breasts and forced his fingers in my vagina. All this went on for [what seemed like] an hour. Then they carried me to the nearby canal and washed me. After this, all the five men continuously beat me with sticks.”

When Human Rights Watch interviewed Yadav two months after the attack, black and blue marks were still visible on her thighs, lower legs, and buttocks. Yadav told Human Rights Watch that following the rape, the men sought assistance from a local Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) politician, who forcefully confined Yadav in his residence for three days without any access to medical treatment. The alleged perpetrators and the politician also threatened the family to try to stop them from filing a police complaint.

Despite the “strong evidence” of her attack and subsequent rape, police are doing nothing to help her or her family. Fearing not just for her own safety, but also for her family’s safety, “Yadav has fled her village and is seeking refuge elsewhere.”

The Nepali police’s handling of Ms. Yadav’s case doesn’t just highlight its incompetence, but it also showcases how corrupt politicians can help you in life. Rather than investigate the case, the police are hoping for mediation, which is insulting to what Ms. Yadav has endured. Why is it that the victim is the one who is being treated like a criminal?

Nepal’s police force should open a serious investigation to Gauri Yadav’s case and bring her attackers to justice. Or maybe they just want to continue oppressing Tibetans.

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