Puja Baniya Opinion
Nepalese need these murals for education and information against GBV. However, three murals in Kathmandu will not suffice to mitigate endemic gender violence in the country. We would need these murals to go up in many other places like Saptari, Rautahat, Bajhang, Bajura, Dang, Kalikot, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk and Chitwan where VAW is reportedly endemic and widespread.
Nepal is not safe for women even without the likes of Bill Clinton, or President Trump’s pussy grabbing bragging, or 94-year-old George W H Bush’s back slapping of young females from his wheel chair, or sexual antics of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, DSK of IMF, Jimmy Saville, Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, Don Burkey and many others. What surprises me most about Kathmandu is the sight of young females walking nonchalantly in the dark solitary lanes, singly or in two and three, some in miniskirts, unbothered and free from fear, during my daily dog feeding promenades. It might not be so safe in the dingy lanes in New York or London or Rome or Sydney. Japanese trains are certainly not safe as I can speak from firsthand experience. We might need some murals there too.
However, I naturally compare Kathmandu to other third world cities like Patna or Gorakhpur or Delhi, both new and old, where women even in groups even during broad day lights are not spared from one or the other form of gender violence.
Also, unlike in many other countries including those in the West and in SAARC Nepalese men and women freely enjoy conjugal bliss outside their race, caste, nationality, social and economic divisions without fear of being ostracized or even being beheaded. We have far more tolerance to LGBTIs as well. We grew up among our gay friends who were never commented even in passing on their sexual orientation. People generally respect women and LGBTIs and there is tolerance to sexual minorities.
-Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu