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Banning Porn is Not Panacea for Sexual Violence - Former Nepalese Lawmaker

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The recent increase in the rate of violence against women and girls sparked national protest in Nepal. Bereft of any solid solution, Nepal government put a ban on online porn websites to curb sexual violence.

Nepal has banned 2400 online porn websites after a spate of attacks on women and girls. Recent statistics compiled by the Nepal government revealed that the total number of rape cases has increased four times in the past ten years: 1667 cases of rape were reported in 2016-17, whereas in 2006 the number was around 400; an increase of 300 percent. During the months of August and September, 2018, alone, police have registered 479 cases of rape across the country.

"Easy access to porn and vulgar content through the internet has affected our social values and social harmony and it has encouraged sexual violence," a statement by the Nepalese government read.

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A few cases that triggered public outrage included the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl Nirmala Panta in Kanchanpur in July this year. Last month, two sisters Samjhana and Sushmita Das were attacked with acid when they protested sexual advances by their neighbor.

The government's decision has triggered a debate on whether the banning of porn websites is the panacea for the deep-rooted problem of violence against women and girls.

Sputnik spoke to Chhaya Sharma Pant, a former lawmaker, women rights activist and leader of Federal Socialist Forum Party.

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Sputnik: Nepal has banned almost 2400 porn sites. Do you think it will help in controlling crimes against women?   

Chhaya Sharma Pant: This may contribute a little, to some extent for a short while. Various laws have been formulated to punish the perpetrators, however, more and more sexual violence, and rape cases and murder are being reported daily. Here I would like to say only making laws and banning of something won't help.

Sputnik: What in your opinion will be the long-term solution? 

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Chhaya Sharma Pant: The gravity of the situation has to be addressed at various levels like schools, universities through media. Dialogues, debates, and discussion have to be conducted to create awareness among people from villages to cities to stop sexual violence. There has to be a mass movement to manifest positive vibrations in societies to curb and stop such violence. Ban of pornography may contribute a little but is not the total solution.

Sputnik: Do you think law and order should also be enhanced to so as to act as a deterrent? 

Chhaya Sharma: Yes, streamlining and strengthening law and order is a sine qua non to ensure safety and security. A better approach would be better policing, education, speedy trial and harsh punishment to the perpetrators.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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