Violence against women takes many forms from verbal “teasing and emotional abuse, to physical and sexual abuse within the home, to rape and trafficking.  According to the New ERA (1997) report, one of the major causes of women leaving the household has been polygamy and subsequent abuse by co-wives.  Alcohol related violence in the family was reported high all over Nepal as well as incidents of dowry related violence.

We visited with a number of women who have been abandoned by their husbands or forced to leave for the safety of themselves and their children.  Many have found hope and strength and talked to us of the joy of having a community of friends to turn to for support.

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This lady abandoned by her husband, is living in one room with her three daughters, two of whom are developmentally handicapped. 

Just a few weeks earlier, her house had been washed away by the floods and she pointed out to us the place where it previously stood.  None the less you can see the joy radiating from her face.  She is just so grateful for all that she has.

I really need to work on my “Attitude of Gratitude”

We also visited a slum area in a dried up river bed to see another initiative of the staff.  A small group have built a house for two ladies to live in and establish their own outreach ministry.  They know that the house will wash away next rainy season but in the meantime they have a home and the church will build them another when the rains stop.

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One very unique experience for me was to visit with three women in a brothel who have “chosen” prostitution as a profession.  Shanti has developed a friendship with these women and the owners of the hotel so they agreed to tell us their stories.  Aged 12, 22 and 42 they each told us horrendous stories of life long abuse, poverty and illiteracy.  The owners were anxious to brag about how well they looked out for the needs of the 12 year old by limiting her to two men per night.  We each left that hotel shaken and thinking pretty ugly thoughts about the owners.  Sadly, thes women are even rejected by some helping organizations as they are seen to have chosen this lifestyle.

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