Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The bordering town of Phuentsholing has seen 34 cases of domestic and gender-based violence until October this year, the highest among all the dzongkhags, according to the RENEW’s latest findings.

This was announced during the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed yesterday in Phuentsholing.

During the event, the assistant focal person for RENEW’s community-based support system (CBSS) in Phuentsholing, Sonam Choki, said the number was more because Phuentsholing is the biggest commercial hub of the country.

“Many people move in and out of Phuentsholing,” she said, adding that the thromde is also the second most populated town.

Sonam Choki also said that the thromde had shown the highest number of cases because the CBSS team had worked really hard and more people had come forth to report violence.

“It is also because RENEW volunteers had conducted more awareness and advocacy campaigns.”

She said they provide immediate support to the victims.

The pandemic has worsened the situation.

Sonam Choki said that public gatherings were not allowed and it was a challenge to get more women to come forward.

“RENEW, however, took the opportunity to campaign awareness and advocacies to those women who had settled in schools after being evacuated from Jaigaon, prior to their moving out to Toorsa temporary settlement.”

RENEW has currently nine volunteers in Phuentsholing.

At the event yesterday, Chukha dzongdag Minjur Dorji said each Bhutanese individual, especially, the men have greater responsibility to eliminate violence against women.

“Although it will take time to entirely uproot such issues, we have to be more realistic and support. We need behavioral change,” he said, explaining everyone is a champion to such social cause.

He said that there are ample policies, rules and regulations in place. There is the need to implement them.

RENEW volunteers, Phuentsholing thrompon, thromde tshogpas, and volunteers from the local volunteer group called ‘Happiness Centre’ were present to observe the day yesterday.