Silenced Voices of Sexual Abuse Survivors Echo Through ‘Paint Me Red’ Campaign

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Paint me red
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With the slogan “Silence can be heard louder!” the Saakshar team, along with activist Bibika Koirala, launched the “Paint Me Red” campaign in Basantapur on Jestha 7, 2079. The campaign was held to alert the nation that many unheard voices have been silenced, but for how long?

The revelation of new hidden cases of sexual abuse that had been silenced and suppressed for many years resonated across the country’s streets and alleyways. A girl who released a video of her repeated sexual abuse on social media provided courage to the silenced hidden voices, sparking hope for the rape survivors.

Many survivors mustered the courage to go on social media to reveal the horrible atrocities they had experienced. Some even revealed their perpetrator’s identity. They also claimed that they had spent a long time knocking on the doors of police stations in pursuit of justice. Nevertheless, they never got justice because the mentioned authorities’ ignorance caused it to be delayed and denied.

‘Paint Me Red’ Campaign

As a result of the catastrophic condition of the country’s sexual abuse laws, a number of frustrated youths initiated several campaigns, including the “Paint Me Red” campaign.

This is a campaign to raise awareness among the appropriate authorities about how vulnerable our judicial system is when it comes to sexual abuse. Furthermore, this campaign sheds emphasis on the fact that many experiences and pains have been concealed in order to maintain family dignity when it comes to sexual assault.

Activist Bibika Koirala and her team launched a silent campaign against sexual abuse under the premise that silence speaks louder than words. Bibika was dressed in a white outfit from head to toe for this campaign. Her mouth was also covered by a white cloth. People were encouraged to smear red paint on her for each time they had been sexually abused. Her once spotless white cloth got tainted with red spots in less than two hours.

Painting Silenced Voices

A total of 73 participants were observed painting their inner voices, with many of them being left out of the camera frame. More got left out for a variety of reasons. Nepalis can only guess how many people have been victims/survivors if these were the paint stains in just two hours. This served to highlight a devastating reality in which nearly every passerby has been abused at some point in their lives.

This became a source of information for our deaf government and judicial system on how victims might come in all shapes and sizes. It taught the Nepali government and society that every gender can be a victim. Nepal’s laws, which include rules for female victims and male rapists, need to be completely reformed. This merely demonstrates how our laws and society overlook the fact that anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race, can be a victim of sexual abuse.

Tragic Reality

Many statements were heard, some on the side of the victim, others silent while waiting for the truth. Some even went so far as to assassinate the victim’s character. These statements demonstrate how deep the victim-blaming mindset is in most Nepalis. It also indicates how easy it is to blame victims without understanding what they have gone through. This mindset highlights our terrible reality and how far-fetched we Nepalis are from delicate issues such as sexual abuse.

Since many people heard the silent voices, the Saakshar team is relaunching the campaign on Jestha 14, 2079. The campaign is to give Nepalis more courage to raise their voices against sexual violence and the laws that govern our country.

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Anjali Magar

I am but a wandering frustrated youth that you could have run into just about anywhere.

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