Sabitri Subedi, a young social activist in Kathmandu, has devoted her life to fighting for gender equality, and reaching victimized people’s, lending support wherever she can. She has raised a voice against rape, discrimination, and the suppression and domination of women in Nepal. Subedi promotes an approach of non-violence and an ideology of peace in achieving her goals of equality and unification. The young activist is a strong supporter of freedom of speech, and has been threatened many times for her outspoken perspective. In spite of this she has continued to fight against injustice, and encourage young women like herself, who have been victimized, to speak out against their oppressors.
While overall crime in Nepal has been steadily decreasing, murder and rape cases have actually shown an increase, according to statistics. In the fiscal 2015-2016 there were 42 murders reported in Kathmandu Valley, while in the fiscal 2016-2017 it had increased to 56. A similar trend has been shown in rape cases in the valley alone, where the number of reported cases increased to 156 in 2016-2017, up from 135 in 2015-2016. This increase may be due to the fact that woman are being emboldened to come forward and share their stories, but most cases likely still go unreported because women are afraid to speak out. Often times they are accused of lying by officials and police who are suppose to protect them, and asked inappropriate questions like, “What were you wearing?” and “Had you been drinking?” Implying that the girls are the ones who are to blame. These women are sometimes shunned by friends and family, and might even lose their job and reputation. They are also open to retribution and revenge by the perpetrator, and are offered little to no protection from this by police.While the rest of the world is swept up in the #MeToo movement, in Nepal as a whole there are about 78 rapes reported every month.
It seems every day that we read a new heart-wrenching story of a young girl’s tragedy in the news. A 17-year-old Kalpana Bista was raped and murdered in the remote area of Kailali. A 13-year-old girl named Nirmala Panta was found lying dead on a sugarcane farm on the side of the road. She had been raped and murdered. Six-year-old Puja Saha died after two weeks of fighting on life sustaining machines after she was violently raped and left for dead on a rubbish pile. There are countless stories just like these ones throughout the country.
Sabitri Subedi works with the victims of rape, and their families to seek justice and help to prevent the crime from occurring in the future. She works to educated people about rape, and women’s rights, and organizes public demonstrations and protests to increase public awareness. One of her main missions is the unification of Nepalese youth to create a strong force against injustice, and she speaks out for what she calls “national integrity”, an ideal she believes in strongly.