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Alarming rise in child abuse

As many as 109 killed in 3 months

Published : Friday, 11 January, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1001
Banani Mallick

The rapes and deaths of five-year-old Faria Akter Dola and four-year-old Nusrat Jahan on Monday night struck the conscience of the nation.
According to local, rapist Mostofa who lives near the victim's family located in Demra area under Dhaka city lured the duo into her flat with a promise to give them lipsticks and later killed them after they failed to violate them.
This is not an unusual incident in the context of Bangladesh. Such incident happens almost every day.
Child abuse has increased alarmingly across the country causing grave concern among all kinds of people.
From 377 in 2017, the number of child rapes has increased to 444 in 2018
The rate of child rape has increased by 18% within one year, according to an annual review submitted by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK).
The yearly review was published by human rights organization ASK in press conference held at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Thursday.
The report further shows the number of child rapes saw an alarming rise from 377 in 2017 to 444 in 2018.
A total of 1,011 children suffered from different kinds of torture in 2017, among which 283 children died, 108 children committed suicide and 28 children died under mysterious circumstances, the report further says.
However, 25 such incidents were found in just the first quarter of this year, according to a latest report of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), an organization working to protect and promote child rights.
The report unveiled on Sunday was prepared based on information collected from 10 national daily newspapers.
According to the BSAF report in the last three months 176 children have been raped, 109 killed, and 25 murdered following rapes. Three rape victims committed suicide after rapes fearing social stigma.
A total of 593 incidents of rape were reported last year. Of whom, 22 were murdered after rapes.
Data from the One Stop Crisis Centre (OCC) shows that Dhaka and Sylhet are most dangerous for young girls.
From January to June, some 131 girls in Dhaka were taken to the OCC for rapes.
The numbers peaked in May where 36 children were admitted to the centre for injuries from sexual assault, was mostly rape.
On average, 17 girls had to get admitted to the centre every month. In the last six months the Rajshahi OCC 26 rape survivors sought treatment, Chittagong 42, Khulna saw 13, Barisal had 22, Faridpur saw 21 and Rangpur nine.
Another rights group, Odhikar in a recent statement said incidents of child rape outnumbered the reported rapes of adult women. Between 2012 and October 2017, a total of 2,788 minor girls were raped.
Many of the staff working at different OCCs in the country said parents of child rape survivors do not want to seek legal aid because of social stigma attached to rape in Bangladesh.
Ashish Khandakar, an eminent dramatist a few days ago talking to the Daily Observer said "People of our society have tendency to commit violence whether we acknowledge it or not."
"May be someone finds it a gruesome discovery but this is the fact," he added.
Raising a question he also said, "If we are really civilized do we have to witness such terrific incident like a rape of a four-month-girl? Where do we live? Do we really know about it? We have not seen such barbaric incident twenty years ago."
 "I think existing prohibited norms and values in our society are the root cause of this violence. It is a vicious cycle that finally leads a person towards a morbid fascination about violence," he said.
However, Dr Mehtab Khanam shared her different thought in this matter, saying the limitless content available in the internet may cause this increasing violence.
Many adolescent boys get access to some prohibited contents in the internet for the first time in their lives.
"So personally I feel that a boy should be taught moral and ethical values by the family members and should discuss openly many issues as normal aspects such of human relationship.
This discussion will work for them as a safeguard in future particularly at the time when they watch such contents.
Ayesha Khanam, President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, said sex education should be given in schools.
I think that simple teaching will increase mutual respect between a man and a woman and the seed of the teaching should be sown from the family, Ayesha, also a sociologist said while talking over phone.

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