By now, every Nepali must be familiar with the recent Sandeep Lamichhane rape case. He was accused of raping a minor aged 17, who was also his fan. Some CCTV footage and the victim’s statement have come forward as proof, although an actual decision is yet to come from the police. Despite this, thousands of people have already started a #justiceforsandeep. Only a brief scroll through the internet is enough to recognize the overwhelming support towards Sandeep Lamichhane, who is celebrated by the Nepali people.
Although we’re not sure what actually happened — we do know that a CCTV camera recorded them entering a hotel room. Allegedly, the victim was intoxicated too out of pressure. Considering this, it’s fair to assume that they were involved sexually, which is simply wrong from Sandeep Lamichhane’s side.
A 22-year-old adult who enjoys a massive amount of popularity should know that a 17-year-old is no more than a child. Claiming the victim had provided consent would not justify his actions. Minors are mentally and emotionally not mature enough to provide consent. So, sexually involving with a minor, ‘with consent’, is rape.
Nepal’s laws define rape as “where any person has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or with a girl child below eighteen years of age even with her consent, the person shall be considered to commit rape on a such woman or girl child.” But still, people are refusing to even consider her a potential victim.
Victim blaming is at its peak right now and it’s clear that people don’t seem to realize what rape, consent or minor actually means. Numerous people simply seem to lack common sense right now. These comments are only some examples of how ignorant people are really acting right now.
If people expect a 17-year-old child to act maturely and not go to the hotel room in the first place, why aren’t they expecting a 22-year-old Sandeep Lamichhane to act maturely and not take a minor to a hotel room? Moreover, the victim was his fan — so if they did were intimate, he clearly abused his position.
Underage children’s and women’s safety isn’t taken seriously and people are ready to sympathize with only one form of victim — the righteous kind. It seems that the only kind of ‘valid’ rape victim is the one who never drinks, and always dresses in traditional clothes.
So, unless someone was screaming for help, immediately reported to the police or was brutally murdered — they’re not worth protecting. Why is the responsibility for avoiding sexual violence always on the woman? It’s disappointing and heart-wrenching to see how people are reacting to this situation.