Rape, violence against women rise
Increasing rape incidents including various forms of violence against women and children had taken place in 2017.
In most cases women and children became victims of abduction, eve-teasing, rape, gang rape and killings throughout the year; from three year old child to physically challenged women none were spared.
However, it has been observed that women and girls from minority communities also became victims of violence and rape.
According to local
people and family members of victims, their women and girls were particularly targeted because of their land and properties.
The miscreants, supposedly supporters of the ruling party are believed to have thought that if they attacked women and children of minority groups, they will leave the country because of persistent humiliation.
People had come to witness three - four rape incidents on average everyday reported by the media.
Among dozens of terrifying rape incidents, the Borga rape incident, occurred on 30 July, had drawn huge public attention.
Bogra town Sramik League convenor Tufan Sarker abducted the victim from her home, raped her and later picked up the victim girl and her mother, tortured them for four hours and then shaved their heads.
Many had described it as the most brutal form of torture resembling medieval times.
A 25 year old college girl, Jakia Sultana Rupa, was killed after being gang-raped on a moving bus travelling from Sirajganj to Mymensingh on August 30. The incident shocked entire nation.
She was attacked on a bus, the police found out after burying her as an unidentified victim at Tangail's Modhupur.
A JSC exam candidate in Sadullapur Puazila, Gaibandha district, was raped on 23 December, by Jubo League Leader Shohag Mia. The victim was returning home after buying clothes on Friday evening when a gang of five youths confronted her.
Earlier a female worker was raped by a gang of three youths on her way to work in Palash upazila, Narsingdi on December 21.These, however, are only a few of the hundreds of reported cases of violence against women that took place in the country this year.
Rights body Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) documented even a more bleak reality on the incidence of violence against women. As many as 1,378 women in the country became victims of rape and violence in the first nine months of the year alone.
During the same period of 2016, the number stood at 1,204 women. The incidents chronicled include sexual harassment, rape, murder after rape, domestic violence, dowry-related torture, torture of domestic help, acid attack and fatwas, according to data available on ASK website.
Nevertheless, many remain unreported since a lot of women are still reluctant to disclose their sufferings, fearing the social stigma attached to it and also fearing to be shunned by their families.
ASK's January-September report says 346 women were subjected to domestic violence while only 178 cases were filed with police against the perpetrators. Of 221 dowry-related incidents, only 138 resulted in cases filed.
The report further says 588 women were raped and 153 women were sexually harassed. 35 domestic helps were tortured. There were acid attacks on 27 women while 8 women became victims to arbitrations and fatwas.
The data also showed that the 13-18 year old age group is the most vulnerable group in terms of sexual crimes followed by the 7-12 year old group. Alarmingly, the data also shows that there were 57 cases of rape in the 0-6 year old age bracket.
The data was compiled using various newspaper reports and the body's own investigations.
According to a database of the monitoring cell of the police headquarters, 18,668 rape cases were filed across the country between 2012 and 2016. In the Dhaka metro area, five women and children repression prevention tribunals disposed of 2,057 cases out of 4,436 filed with different police stations from 2001 to 2016. As of May this year, only 22 cases saw convictions, court and prosecution sources said.
Ayesha Khatun, president of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad stressed on the need for social awareness among the masses to prevent all sorts of violence against women.
Most importantly, the social awareness regarding the issue should spread out throughout the country. Both our conventional and social media have a crucial role to play for campaigning to end the violence against women.
She also noted that the state agencies should be more effective to implement the existing laws so that justice can be ensured.
There is a lack of implementation of law. Violence against women (VAW) is the most palpable gender-specific violation of the Human Rights. Therefore, we need gender sensitive institutions and quick disposal of cases. Impunity is another factor which not only hinders justice, but also makes victims and their families fear to file cases.