According to a recent survey India is one of the world's "five worst places," to live as a woman. Women get leered at and harassed in public, they get attacked and abused regularly. But recently, attention has focused on neighboring Nepal where an unprecedented event in the history of the country which has left Buddhists confused about its consequences occurred. In the last week of June, in eastern Nepal, a Buddhist nun was gang-raped.
She was returning home on a public bus but was forced to spend the night inside the bus and gang-raped by the bus driver and four accomplices. Now while she remains in state of semi-consciousness at the hospital, the news continues to send shock waves through the Buddhist world and two related questions continue to asked. The first is will the nun get justice?
Observers fear that the nun may never get justice because Nepal's archaic laws do not have clearly stated provisions for protecting women victims of rape, not to mention the more complicated issue of the protecting women from social stigma and ostracism which follows the victim's new identity as a rape victim–a fact which explains why most women victims of rape do not report the crime.
The second question, related to the first is, will she or should she be reinstated in the Buddhist community she belonged to as a nun?
This question expresses the dilemma the Buddhist community of eastern Nepal is facing. And the confusion is growing over this question because nobody knows the answer to the question as yet.
Such a thing never happened in the Buddha´s lifetime…So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with the situation. Buddhists all over the world adhere to what he had laid down: That a person can no longer be considered ordained in case of having a physical relationship. It´s applicable to both men and women.
Norbu Sherpa further explained:
A vessel that is damaged once can no longer be used to keep water … Buddhism all over the world says this. Even the Dalai Lama says you can´t be a monk or nun after marriage.
While the leadership of the Buddhist monastic order in Nepal continue debating the problem, the unprecedented crime of rape of a Buddhist monk highlights the growing problem in Nepal. According to reports, a Kathmandu non-governmental organization the Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) says that violence against women claimed 22 victims in the three months from April to July. The deaths were said to be related to dowry, witchcraft, domestic and sexual violence. According to statistics released by the Informal Sector Services of Nepal, 225 cases of rape were registered in 2008, with 7 cases of rape related murder and 31 cases of gang rape. Added to these appalling rates of gender related violence among scores of unreported cases, Nepali girls are reported to be victims of a bustling human trafficking industry which drives between 10,000-15,000 women every year across the borders to neighboring India, with about 7,500 being trafficked within Nepal for commercial sexual exploitation.