Culture > Silence and shame
  • Sara

    This is a global problem and one that very much needs addressing – the time is right in Nepal to not just have policy change but change is needed in the Nepali education system so that these issues can be addressed within school – through healthy relationship sessions and gender and violence against all – addressed so that the root causes van be addressed. The work of the Blue Diamond Society needs to expand and become mainstreamed – thank you for sharing your story as each voice each story when joined together will really help the sea of change that is needed to happen – I hope those in power are reading and I hope they have the humanity and passion to respond to this – and if not then the people of Nepal need to hold those in power accountable. Gender based violence thrives in a culture is shame – and is unhealthy for all

  • Rene S.

    thank you Niranjan for sharing this live changing impact with all of us.
    it’s happening daily, everywhere in the world, sometimes we assume it’s not happening in the
    neighbourhood, but IT IS RIGHT THERE, i experienced myself.
    It must be an appeal to everyone, especially to parents; don’t close your eyes, believe your children,speak up and
    go public!!

  • Niranjan Kunwar

    Thank you so much for such positive and supportive comments. Sorry that I won’t be responding to everyone individually but please know that every voice and every comment matters. Solidarity to those who have suffered in similar ways. I believe that the only way to bring about any kind of change is to talk about it and share your stories. Love and peace.

  • Ami

    Dai, I applaud your courage! I hope your act of courage will bring forth positive discourse and help break this culture of shame and silence.

    Parents need to stop caring so much about what others, the so called “society”, will say and prioritize their children’s happiness over family honor, and what’s right over what’s normal.

  • S

    Reading this felt like my story written by someone else. Wow I salute you.

  • Nila Shrestha

    Thank you so much for such a sincere article.Hats off to the courage you collected for expressing your own story.
    It will surely help people who have another kind of trauma too.
    Sad part is our society just doesnt care about mental health of a person.
    Thank you so much for the article. .

  • Sandhya shrestha

    You are brave to share your past. I salute u!

  • Roopesh Joshi

    With this article, the author has done exactly what his father taught him – be bold. Sometimes acts of courage come in forms so unexpected; this article, so calm and composed, so well written and honest, will be a strong step in waking up people, now and in future. I applaud the author in coming out and telling his story. I spend time reading biographies and autobiographies, but this recollection sincerely narrated by the author in this 1-2 page article, is one which I’ve found to be most influential in quite some time. Parents, guardians and teachers should take note of this article. This is true of Nepal of course, but applies elsewhere around the world including developed countries like the US. I am sorry for what he and the other 2 boys had to go through, but Niranjan Kunwar will always be a hero in my eyes. This article should be thought provoking, to other victims, to bullies, to abusers and to bystanders. It is a sad tale, especially that it happened to someone so young. Thank you for sharing your story and how you dealt with it – I am sure it will help others. Even if it helps one person, it is a big thing. But I am confident it will help many. Thanks to Himal magazine for publishing it.

  • RR

    It happened to me and it has effectively ruined my mental health. Everyday is a challenge, but I have to live for my parents. Thanks for this article.

  • Niroz

    I vividly remember the time. I was in 9th grade and was struggling in my Optional Math exam, when suddenly the main alarm system went off- the alarm that was reserved only for major disasters, like earthquake. In fact, in my 7 years at the school, I only heard that alarm twice, this was the second time. I was happy to leave the exam as I was about to get a second chance, however, was completely unaware of the incident, which we, learned, in a Chinese whisper manner, later on. It has always stayed with me and bothered me. I have shared it with my friends and closed ones over the years and have asked to reveal the perpetrators, if for nothing else, to educate the younger generation of the ills of abuse. It was easy for me to talk, as I wasn’t dealing with what you were going through. I salute you for your first step. And, as you can see from the responses here, there were many, as you pointed out, who “went with the flow” because they (we) were scared of being the target of physical abuse, or our young minds just simply didn’t understand the gravity of the incident at the time. I appreciate your courage to speak out about this, undoubtedly it has provided hope and inspiration to many, and she’d light on such incidents that have remained in the dark far too long. Best wishes.

  • SK

    I think I know about the school you are mentioning. Despite being reputed the school has failed to address these kind of severe problems that have been affecting student’s life. I know people whose lives messed up just because they were helpless. Bullying is a serious issue and it has been there for decades. I know the present conditions are far better than they were in couple of years back. Still the school should be coming out with a policy that could address these sort of issues in an effective way.

  • aiti ghale

    such a sincere writing…hats up…yeah shame then silence working together to repress many issues…loved n respect ur writing

  • srijana

    thank you very much for deciding to write this piece.

  • Conifer

    Dear Niranjan,

    This is one the bravest pieces I have read published in Himal for some years now. Thank you for your courage to speak out of your own personal story on the twisted fallacy of shame and victim-blaming. I wish I could tell you in person (can’t because I am not in Nepal), how this gives courage to many others, and to people like me, who have suffered from another kind of trauma. I can only hope that your story will encourage our families and our neighbours (heck, the country at large), to impart a degree of empathy, in order to foster love, care, healing and justice. Once again, thank you.

  • SP

    It must not have been easy writing this, I salute you for gathering all the courage. This piece may or may not help people speak up about the traumatising incident that they went through, but I am sure it will help them feel ‘I am not the only one and it was not my fault. It was not right what happened, but I will not let ‘that incident’ govern my life.

  • Vj

    Your parents knew and they sent you back and told you to be bold. Mine, I told, and they said, “nothing happened”. And they sent me back to the same school, same teacher.

    Parents need to learn to love their children and stand up for what is right. Till that happens, till we become better, “bolder” parents, things will not change.

  • Aarushi Bhandari

    This is the most heartbreaking thing I have read in a very long time. As a fellow Nepali — who also ran off to NY tired of the status quo’s b/s — I laud you for speaking up, for forcing this culture of silence to acknowledge your trauma head on. I’m sorry for what happened to you, and I am sorry our society has developed within the narrow confines of facades to appease the status quo. I’m sorry about the silence. Parents love their children, but they don’t want to know their children or hear their children. They want their children to get better grades than the neighbor’s children. They want their children to never speak of trauma, or any mental health issues, because that’s seeking attention, and one of 33 freakin million gods forbid, someone else hear about their children’s struggles, how poorly will that reflect on their morally upstanding family’s image, whose daughter wears kurtas to temples everyday and quietly married whoever they chose? Nepal ma people just wanna pretend like everyone and everything is okay and chill noone is suffering, noone is abused, noone is is ***ing, noone is raping, noone is LGBTQ, noone is atheist, noone is depressed. We have managed to live in an entire civilization that has completely circumvented the darkness that reeks through its very core.
    I can only begin to imagine the extraordinary strength and courage that went into making this poignant post, and I thank you for your voice. I hope it begins to give courage for others to speak and to be heard, and congratulate you on your reserve. Thank you for sharing.

  • Shyam

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think I know what school you were referring to, and when I went there in the 2000’s we had the same issue. The students were kicked out, but everything was hush-hush. Now I realize how critically it must have affected the my friends who were involved. We should have instead used that incident to raise awareness about bulling, sexual offenses, and provided support to overcome who were affected.

  • Neeraj P. G.

    I applaud your courage. Bravo! We do tend to sweep many social problems under the rug but bold moves as this opens the door to recognize that there is even a problem. Many young students after you will be grateful for opening up.

  • Sanjana

    our society doesn’t encourage real discussion on issues like this or resolving them. you have changed all that by writing about it from your side. thank you for sharing this with the world. this needed to be written.

  • Bimal Gaire

    Hats off to the author for coming up with such a delicate topic and sharing his own experience. Didn’t know these kind of sexual harassment happened too often in Nepalese schools.

    It’s a shame that we still can not accept people with different sexual orientation opposed to what we call “normal”. And the fact that instead of helping the victims we impose guilt upon them is nothing but the insecurity that lies within us.

    Thanks you for sharing this. This is ” bold”.

  • Rabi Thapa

    Such a brave, searingly honest article. The saddest part of it is that the shame pooled in the author’s psyche rather than in that of his abusers. In this case the victim came to terms with it, and thrived despite it; many others may not be able to do so. Talking about it must be the first step.

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