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Violence against women, children goes on unabated

Published : Sunday, 5 July, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 306
Banani Mallick

Various forms of violence against women and children have increased amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Different research reports, including Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, show that about 480 women and girls have been victims of violence during March, April and May of the current year.
According to the report, 101 women and girls were raped while 25 gang-raped and seven were killed after rapes. Besides, 15 were attempted to be raped.
However, Manusher Janno Foundation said a total of 4249 women and 456 children have had to face domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.
The telephonic survey was conducted in June when about 27 districts were brought under the research work.
Of the victims, about 1672 were women and 424 children who had never faced violence before and most of the children have faced violence resorted either by their parents or relatives.
Talking to the Daily Observer many gender experts and women rights activists said violence was always heavily underreported.
But during the coronavirus pandemic women and children are even more unwilling to report on violence against them.
Around four months
    after the first coronavirus cases were detected the media reported that the number of crimes in European and American cities went down significantly.
The title of an online article published in New York Times very recently says that a Pandemic Bright Spot: In Many Places, Less Crimes. It was the same in other big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
Media reports said the number of crimes took a nosedive as most of the people stayed inside. Bangladesh was no different as far as the crimes on the streets are concerned. There have been fewer cases of theft, looting, mugging and kidnapping.
However, the number of cases of domestic violence, especially against women and children, has increased tremendously.
In Bangladesh, the general holiday began on 26 March and a few days later we got a pseudo lockdown.
From then to 3 June, in two months and seven days, as many as 197 cases had been filed under the Women and Child Repression Act in Dhaka metropolitan city alone.
Among them, 64 were rape cases including eight gang rape cases. As many as 51 cases were filed over dowry while 36 for abduction and seven for physical abuse.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police, however, suggests that the number only includes reported cases and this does not represent the actual scenario.
Because many women and children could not go out due to the lockdown and they had no means to go to the police or file a case.
Gender experts say the actual number of such cases of harassment and abuse is far bigger. In May, as many as 23 women had to be treated at the One Stop Crisis Centre of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital while 18 took treatment at the Outpatient Unit.

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