‘Wishful thinking’

Nepal government issues ban on internet porn in bid to solve sexual assault crisis

A candle light vigil in August for Nirmala Pant, a 13-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and killed in Nepal. (Twitter)

Misguided solution or reasonable fix?

To counteract the rise of sexual assault in Nepal, the government isn’t cracking down on the perpetrators themselves, but has chosen to ban online pornography in the tiny country, hoping that will prevent incidences of rape.

The government released a statement saying it was now necessary to prevent the access of the content through online media, and will block access to pornographic sites — yet there is still a way to get around these blocks by accessing the sites through VPN.

One activist called it merely a “diversionary tactic to hide the government’s incompetence in prosecuting rapists,” urging instead of the need to empower people and respect their sexual agency — and, of course, to punish the perpetrators.

“The number of reported rapes has risen sharply in Nepal in the past three years, jumping from 1,093 to 1,677 in 2017,” as reported in The Washington Post, with 60 percent of reported rape victims young than 16, and a third younger than 10. The police are often accused by other activists and women’s groups of covering up the crimes and conspiring to protect the attackers.

One such case happened this summer when 13-year-old Nirmala Pant was kidnapped, raped, and killed while she was on her way to a friend’s house. The police were said to have protected her real attackers and falsely accused a man with learning disabilities. Her story went viral and thousands marched with her parents demanding justice. Instead, what they’re receiving is a crackdown on pornography that has been ineffective in other countries. In fact, India’s government tried a similar tactic in 2015, but was forced to lift the ban after one week due to public outrage.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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