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Rape survivor recalls agonies in fight for justice

Here is the link of the news story originally published in Republica.



She had appeared before the public to share her victory over rape. However, after whispering out a few words, she choked up. Prerana (name changed) started crying, and the tears rolled down for hours.

Rape survivor Prerana had found justice, but it came at the cost of seven years of unrelenting fight. The whole experience was a disheartening one, and full of hassles at every step. She was raped in 2007, and the journey for justice started right from then. By 2010, she found herself filing a case at the Supreme Court.

On Friday, the apex court sentenced Yadav Prasad Ghimire to five years in jail with a Rs 150,000 fine for raping her. Prerana feels a bit relieved now.

“The man raped once, but this system raped me thousands of times,” said the former journalist who had fallen prey to a promise of a better job.

A resident of Syangja, Prerana was 22 years old when the Nepal Telecommunications staffer persuaded her to travel with him to Pokhara for a job interview. He said that the job was guaranteed if she just appeared in the interview.

“The man took me to a hotel, saying it was late and we had to stay there for the night,” recalled the plus-two graduate who had looked upon the middle-aged Ghimire as a guardian. However, the man raped her and threatened to kill her if she spoke to anyone about it.

A few hours after she regained some consciousness, Prerana managed somehow to make a telephone call to her friends. They informed the police and she was rescued in the middle of the night.

“Do not go to the toilet until the medical checkup is done,” one police official had suggested to her at Pokhara police station.

The next day, when Prerana was taken to hospital for medical identification of rape, she was turned back and told the service was not available that particular day, said advocate Nara Kumari Gurung.

“A delay in the medical checkup weakened the case right from the beginning,” added Gurung, who has been following the case since the second day of the incident.

With the support of the Forum for Women Law Development, a case was filed at Kaski Distruct Court. There she broke into tears every time she had to reply, “Yes I was raped.”
“During the hearings of my case, people would gather at the bench as if to catch a racy scene,” said Prerana. “Even more painful was that officials wanted to make me believe I was responsible for the incident, that I trusted the man.”

However, the bench of Hari Pokhrel in 2008 handed down a six-year jail term and a Rs 150,000 fine.

Meanwhile, the accused went to the appellate court and the verdict was overturned. The accused threatened Prerana at Pokhara Appellate Court premises, saying, “In this huge court I can find many who will turn the case in my favor if I pay them.”

A year later, a joint bench of Judges Om Prasad Subedi and Khem Prasad Sharma ordered that the accused be set free.

She almost gave up then. Any hope for justice was over. However, her supporters revived her hopes sufficiently for her to move the Supreme Court. The verdict from there came just a few days ago.

The rapist had access to her mobile number and email ID because of his work at Nepal Telecommunications.

“My email and facebook accounts were hacked dozens of time. I filed several complaints with police but that didn´t work,” she said.

Even though the SC verdict has been issued, the culprit is yet to be arrested. According to former SC registrar Ram Krishna Timilsina, the verdict will be forwarded to either arrest the guilty or convict him through Kaski District Court.

As the rapist is still at large, Prerana fears he could harm her again any time. “The fear will follow me like a shadow until the man is arrested,” she said.

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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