Field Notes

Field Notes

Nepal: Not Just a Pretty Face

A Nepali survivor of rape, who courageously tells her story in PROOF's latest exhibition, "Legacy of Rape".  Photo: NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati.

A Nepali survivor of rape, who courageously tells her story in PROOF's latest exhibition, "Legacy of Rape". Photo: NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati.

"On my way to school one day with three of my friends and I were gang-raped by the police force and left on the roadside.”

In the West, we may think of Nepal's majestic mountains and gorgeous landscapes, but for some of its habitants, the country has a darker side.

To help fill that gap and advocate for justice, we sponsored a four-day workshop with our partner organization in Nepal, Himalayan Human Rights Monitors, from December 25 to 28, 2012.

Nine young women testified, all survivors of sexual violence, which often includes torture. Gaining their trust was a huge achievement. Most of them had, until then, concealed the truth about their horrific experiences from their own families because they were so afraid of being ostracized.

It’s been six years since the end of hostilities, but the victims of rape still await justice. Compared to other human rights violations, documentation on sexual violence is scanty. One reason: shame and social taboo strongly deter many survivors from sharing their stories.

But as the workshop unfolded, these women gained strength from each other: their stories began to flow as they faced the demons of the past head on.

Unfortunately, justice lags the brave acts of our workshop participants. They want the perpetrators of these heinous deeds punished, so their crimes will not happen again.

Halfway around the world, in New York City, PROOF continued its efforts to redress these wrongs. It sponsored a social evening that focused on the aftermath of sexual violence in Nepal.

Hosted by the Bubble Lounge in Tribeca, the January 29 event kicked off our new "Evening For" series, highlighting our Legacy of Rape exhibition and last year’s Nepal workshop.

Around 50 people were inspired by a moving presentation by Prajuna KC; several of them expressed a desire to work with us in the future.

As part of the evening, we also auctioned five beautiful prints from Nepal. Proceeds will go towards the continuation of our four-part workshop for rape survivors and traveling exhibition in Nepal.

The Bubble Lounge feted us with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as we welcomed new faces and donors to our organization.

With our "Evening For" events, we hope to expand our membership in 2013. These small-scale events for young professionals will help bring awareness to our cause and expand our reach in New York.

Geneva Film Festival to House Legacy of Rape Exhibit in March

Our "Legacy of Rape" exhibition will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, where it will be on display from March 1 to 10 at the 11th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights.

About 40 films are competing this year, including documentaries and fiction features that expose violations of civil, economic, social, and cultural rights.

On March 2, 2013, Swiss-based TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) is sponsoring a reception at the Grütli Center where Philip Grant, Director of Trial, and Leora Kahn, PROOF’s Director, will speak about sexual violence.

The festival increases awareness and inspires a commitment to universal values. It coincides with–but is separate from–the meeting of the main session of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council. For more information on the festival, go to FIFDH Geneve.