Stacey Spivey (Nepal)

Stacey Spivey (Jagaran Media Center – JMC - Nepal): Stacey graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University in 2000 with a BA in Political Science. She later worked as a Research Assistant at the Health Privacy Project. Stacey served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, where she taught English in a local school for 2 years. In 2005, Stacey joined The Advocacy Project as a Grant Researcher. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing a Master’s degree in International Affairs at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, with a concentration in International Development.

When abuse is mundane

13 Jul

After being in Nepal for six weeks, I suddenly realize that I’ve settled into a routine that revolves around a 9 to 5 office day. My days in Nepal have started to feel mundane and it suddenly seems as though I’m searching for surprising or shocking events, rather than feeling bombarded by them like when I first arrived.

The near death taxi rides, where we end up actually driving in between two lanes of oncoming traffic, just don’t make my heart pound like they used to. Limping and mangy dogs, goats on a leash, and Buddhist monks are no longer cause for a second glance. Muddy streets, child laborers, and men with machine guns are now just part of everyday scenes. I have started to feel as though very little surprises me anymore.

That is, until I read JMC’s most recent newsletter.

As JMC is a media organization, they use various forms of media, including print, television and radio, to educate both Dalits and non-Dalits about human rights, to fight against caste-based discrimination and to expose human rights violations against the Dalit in Nepal. As part of this work, JMC has a human rights monitoring program in which cases of abuse against the Dalit are investigated and documented. Selected stories are then reported in an online newsletter that is circulated by email to a national and international audience. It was as I was editing this month’s newsletter that I came across a story that thoroughly disturbed me.

Last month, a young Dalit boy from a village in Western Nepal went to school, just as on any other day. But this day was different. He was not feeling well and as he sat at school, surrounded by his classmates, he suddenly lost control of his bowels and got sick in the classroom.

As if this were not traumatic enough for any seven year old child, the teacher proceeded to force the little Dalit boy to lick his own feces. Rather than showing sympathy for his student, he persecuted him. The abuse did not stop there. When the principle heard of what had happened, rather than intervene on the little boy’s behalf, he instructed him to clean the classroom.

It is difficult to imagine the horror of an innocent child being subjected to such an appalling experience. I can’t imagine how the child was affected by this act and how he will remember that day for the rest of his life. The shame and confusion he must have felt, not understanding what he had done wrong. Although, by age 7, I am sure he already understood that the injustice he suffered had something to do with being a Dalit.

The saddest part about this story is that atrocities like this are everyday events for the Dalit community in Nepal. So while I contemplate the fact that the routine in my life revolves around a nine to five office day, life for many Dalits continues to revolve around violence and abuse. Appallingly, this is not the first case that JMC has documented of Dalits being forced to eat excrement. So, it seems, the routine of abuse continues.

Posted By Stacey Spivey (Nepal)

Posted Jul 13th, 2006

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