Rape No Crime if Victim A Westerner

by Helen Brown

A western victim of sexual abuse in Nepal, who became a campaigner against sex trafficking, had a case against a travel agent guilty of serial sexual offenses, with tourist women as his prey. She relied on Santa Thapalia, the "women's rights" lawyer, who claims to give legal support to the victims of sexual violence, to take up her case.

However her lawyer turned out to be in collusion with Police Inspector Yadav Adhikari, who was put in charge of the case. These two arranged to let the offender off in return for a bribe. However, while the victim was under the guidance of Santa Thapalia, she was threatened by Inspector Yadav Adhikari. If she did anything whatsoever to expose her abuser's guilt for the benefit of other women, she would be imprisoned. Santa Thapalia was in a huddle with Yadav Adhikari, supporting him when her client raised strong objections.

So, thanks to this lawyer and her accomplice in the police force, a sexual predator roams free.

Various prominent members of the Women's Defense Pressure Group were involved. Then Yadav Adhikari was promoted to the position of Chief District Officer on Hanuman Dhoka Police Station. Police under his command arrested an innocent Nepalese woman, the wife of a Gurkha officer, and held her prisoner in defiance of the Supreme Court, torturing her and threatening to send her to Bombay as a prostitute unless they received a ransom. This became a case for Amnesty International.

I would like to know why the Women's Defense Pressure Group, which includes some anti-trafficking campaigners, were prepared to collude with corrupt police acting against women's human rights.

The woman who had been threatened with imprisonment was outraged that her abuser had been let off, and at the Women's Defense Pressure Group's involvement with hostile police. The Women's Defense Pressure Group included Durga Ghimire, who is in charge of ABC, an organization said to oppose trafficking. She claimed that the victim had "paid three men to rape her three times".

Perhaps she cannot understand offenses against adult Western women, only against young Nepalese girls, but reputable anti-trafficking campaigners should surely not get themselves involved in such a situation! It appears that the Women's Defense Pressure Group have a standard of public behavior for show, and much lower standards in private. However, this lapse is well-documented.

Another Women's Defense Pressure Group member who refused to recognize the rights of the victim and the danger posed by the predatory travel agent was the MP Shahana Pradhan. She figures in Murder No Crime if Victim a Woman.

She is President of the All Nepal Women's Association and leader of the Nepalese Women's delegation to the World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. Her constituency sheltered the suspects of a girl apparently murdered for belonging to the All Nepal Women's Association. When I met this girl's brother, no action whatsoever was being taken to pursue justice.

Santa Thapalia (or Shanta Thapalia) is the president of the Legal Aid and Consultancy Center, which is claimed to be an independent non-profit, non-partisan and non-governmental legal resource women's organization, established by a group of lawyers for the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of women and children in Nepal. According to the LACC website, as a pioneer legal resource organization, it is "dedicated to women's empowerment and advancement, uplifting of their dignity. LACC has been working for the elimination of all forms of discrimination, abuses, exploitation, sexual abuses and violence against women and children through legal and judicial process."

Don't the victims of sexual abuse expect her to be true to her word? What of the women who fell victim because Santa Thapalia and her accomplices decided against action? Is the offender viewed as a profitable source of income, because the more he offends, the more bribes can be taken?

Read more - Sigma Huda.

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Please email comments, ideas and suggestions to: For more information on the campaign to stop sexual harassment of tourists in Nepal please email comments, ideas and suggestions to:

Helen Brown freespirit_nospam_@gn.apc.org

Sorry I have to complicate this to prevent spam! Please take out the underscores as well.