NEPAL: Women survive violence with help from rural Nyaya health clinic
Agya Poudyal – WNN MDG Stories
(WNN) Rural Achham, NEPAL: She was brought in an ambulance to one of the most rural hospitals in Nepal – the Bayalpata Hospital. Unconscious and badly bruised, she was a typical case of domestic violence. We accepted her into our hospital. But even before she had regained full consciousness she left the hospital to rescue her husband who had been kept behind the bars for beating her up.
With her private story, opinions poured in. Her name was all over the local newspaper. It had carried her story without any sensitivity whatsoever to her private life. Her relatives voiced that she was equally to be blamed. “She must have provoked him,” I heard a man say. Her sympathizers didn’t realize the autonomy to her own life. “She should get a divorce.” The comments didn’t end at that. “Oh it isn’t that bad,” somebody from the crowd chimed in. I lost my cool. “Well it is bad enough” I mumbled to myself and walked away, frustrated by all that was going on.
From normalizing victimization to violating confidentiality, from prescribing divorce to emphasizing that she kept the family together, everyone felt that they had their right to say about what was going on in somebody else’s private life. But little did they realize that all she wanted at that time was care, respect and a little bit of dignity that we all are entitled to.
The causes of domestic violence are usually sought to be objectified in poverty, abuses, crimes, oppression, illiteracy and what not. But this doesn’t present a complete picture. After all, these situations are not unique to one single individual but are shared by a hidden majority who rarely come out to fight for justice. What women in places like Achham or elsewhere need is consciousness of abuses and oppression and a realization that these are not the normal situations of this world.
More than the rhetoric, uncontrolled emotions of women that circulate freely in their tap discussions, unknown to the world is the real opinion of what women really want. Giving them more authority in the household can truly change the scenario to bring their voice in the mainstream. It is with this authority that they can bring a revolution to the way they are treated. It certainly isn’t a conscious effort. Yet its impact in life can become a provocation to end what women here suffer from.
When more and more cases of domestic violence on women floats atop, for a while it will look like it is just another story. Women do not realize their own strength. But when you give a woman more authority in the household, the details of the injustice happening to them are all going to get accounted for. One day they are all going to be added up. One day they are going to think why did it happen to them and not somebody else? Why did he beat me up for going to the fair and not going to fetch the water? I have acted worse at moments but why did he beat me up for something I do not feel dignified doing. With authority the realization will come in.
It comes unplanned and breaks into a society pulling along people who were completely unaware of the situation. Authority in household will let the women triumph. Talking of domestic violence should not be about the suffering of women. It should be an encouragement of how she can break the cycle and fight for justice. A story of how she can get rid of her fear. A story of how the violence she has gone through hasn’t been because of love. A story of how it may not be “that bad” but it is definitely bad enough to fight for justice and moreover a dignified life.
For more information about Bayalpata Hospital and the Nyaya Health link HERE
The Nyaya Health Clinic at the Bayalpata Hospital is a clinic serving people from some of the most remote areas in Nepal. This video outlines the extreme health needs for women, children as well as men in the rural region of Nepal that today is part of care system with services provided to the surrounding communities completely free via the Nyaya Health Clinic. This 8:06 min video is a December 2008 produced by Nyaya Health.
Agya Poudyal, with a Bachelor’s degree from Kathmadu University in Economics and Sociology and a Master’s degree in International Relations from University of Bremen and Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, is the current director of Community Health for Bayalpata Hospital. Poudyal oversees programs for ‘Health Equity’ for those who live in the rural Achham region of Nepal. through a dedication to bringing the best available health care to women, children and men in rural regions through the efforts of the Nyaya Health where she works as liaison and as an expert in issues that cover human rights and healthcare Nepal.
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