Maheela Samsāra

The pandemic is having tremendous effects on the world’s economy and on the social fabric of every society, especially in Developing Countries such as Nepal. Women and girls in particular are facing a greater risk, as they are systematically disadvantaged and often suppressed by poverty, violence and marginalization. The fears and uncertainties caused by the pandemic have intensified various inequalities against women, resulting in violence. The figures of violence against women increased during the lockdown and are likely to do it thereafter. Gender Based Violence (GBV) was already a growing problem in Nepal prior to the pandemic. UNFPA suggest that 48% of Nepali women had experienced violence at some point in their lives, with 27% of them experiencing physical violence. In addition, 61% of them had never told anyone about the abuse. Getting real data on GBV is a major challenge in a Country like Nepal, as few victims report the abuse. The core for this is the stigma associated with being a GBV victim, a tendency to blame women and girls for own their assaults, and the importance of family honor, all of which prevent victims and families from reporting. Pre-existing gender inequalities is. fundamental cause of the reproduction of gender-related vulnerability during crises. Due to channelization of resources and other efforts to contain the virus, the health care system has disrupted services to GBV survivors. A total of 648 women have been reported fro commit suicide during the 83 days of lockdown in the Country (23 March-15 June 2020), partly linked with violence. Previous research has shown that GBV has long-term effects on women and girls such as fear, social stigma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), and in the worst cases even thoughts of self-harm and suicide. All these psychological consequences can further deteriorate gender equality after the pandemic creating a setback to the country’s socio-economic potential and increasing an already large discrepancy between men and women within Nepali society.