32 of the Constitution of Bangladesh provides that no person shall be
deprived of life and personal liberty save in accordance with law.
Physical and emotional assaults which occur in incidents of rape clearly
violate that dignity. Currently the maximum punishment under the Women
and Children Repression Prevention Act for committing rape is life term
imprisonment. But, according to research, 3 women and children are being
victims of rape every day. Hence, a strong protest is going on to
introduce 'Death Sentence' as the punishment for rape. But,
unfortunately, if we cannot hit at the roots, then nothing can change
the ill-fate of the women and children of Bangladesh.
incidents of rapes and sexual violence against women and children occur
regularly, but exemplary punishment is uncommon. Many get forgotten due
to delay in trial. A lack of proper medical tests of the victims, their
fear of humiliation and intrusion of influential people make it
difficult to get justice. Not only now but also in previous decades,
rape and sexual assault occurred in plenty in Bangladesh though the
graph is sharply upward now-a-days. Today imams and muajjins, priests,
teachers, university professors, doctors, corporate leaders, law
enforcers - all are committing crimes like rape.
or reports, that we receive, are mostly from the lower or lower middle
income group. The victims from high or middle income groups mostly do
not report such incidents. Even then 4,541 rape cases have been reported
in the past 16 years and the accused were punished in only 60 of these
incidents. The conviction rate for rape in Bangladesh is below 1 per
cent. At least 889 women have been raped in Bangladesh between January
and August in 2020, 192 others faced rape attempts and sexual harassment
while nine victims took their own lives. The actual numbers of such
incidents are much higher. The government is yet to pass long-promised
sexual harassment and witness protection laws.
If we cannot hit
at the causes of rape in today's Bangladesh, all our efforts will go in
vein. Here we want to mention the example of India also which is very
much similar with the culture and practices of Bangladesh. According to
the government figures, Indian police registered 33,658 cases of rape in
2017. Experts say that a woman is raped in India every 16 minutes.
education system is full of faults as we are finding our youth engaged
in crimes like; rape, murder, sexual assault, vandalism etc. If we see
few school or college going teenagers moving together on the streets, we
get afraid now-a-days. The law enforcers should prohibit movement of
children and teenagers in school uniform at public places like malls,
parks etc. unless they are under school or guardian supervision as that
will reduce the number of teen gangs and minor illegal activities.
must question what we are teaching at schools today. We are breaking
the morality at schools. Moreover, our books today are not intended to
make children want to learn, rather to pass. Our curriculum does not
have anything to teach about protecting women's honour. Though we are
always talking about modernization and are breaking our cultural norms,
we often do not adopt the teaching style of the modern world and also do
not teach about the sexual norms in schools or even colleges.
are turning singular and as the parents are busy, we are taking support
of technology to keep our children busy. We are handing them over
smartphones and exposing them to the threats of Youtube, Facebook,
Tiktok etc. But we are actually handing over a 'nuclear bomb' to our
children. Many abusive contents are being enjoyed by our children
without our knowledge and that is why a group of 5yrs old boys are
raping a 3 years old girl today.We should consider banning few apps like
Tiktok as was done by India and Pakistan.
According to our law,
no person below the age of 18 should have a mobile phone let alone
smartphone. It is good to use technology if constructively but in terms
of our people's education level and knowledge, it is hard to bring out
any good. With widespread incidents like taking video of sexual assault
and making it viral is one example of misuse of technology.
and family bonding is disappearing very soon in this modern era.
Violence at home has increased a lot. If a child finds his parents
fighting, his childhood is surrounded with virtual friends and erotic
materials, we must pay for that at some point in the future.
culture always held some sort of decency irrespective of the religion.
Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Buddhist - all hailing from the Bengali
culture upheld the family values, modesty and decency but today we are
finding that diminishing. Customs like marriage is turning into a matter
of formality. This is generating illicit relationship and crimes like
rape. Marriage at the early youth stage should be promoted by the
We need to fight the spread of drugs in any cost. Most
of the rapist and sexual assaulters are drug addicts. Drugs and alcohol
takes away morality from a person and in that state he or she can commit
any crime. Selling tobacco products, alcohol, sedative medicines or
drugs to anyone below 18 should be strictly banned. Both buyer and
seller should be served severe punishment.
It is time to think
where our society is actually moving. The protesters in favour of
capital punishment for rape must be of clean character. Unfortunately,
many of them are not respectful towards women. With this protest, they
are merely trying to brighten their social face under.
We need to
take some steps immediately. Our education system must be completely
reformed where a student will not study to pass rather to learn. Moral
and ethical education must be full subject where every student must
pass. Many students sign out from education at the level of PSC, JSC,
SSC and HSC. These left outs turn into a threat for the society as they
roam unemployed and unguided. They are politically used as muscle and
are involved in all sorts of vandalism including rape and sexual
assault. The nation should take responsibility of their rehabilitation
to save the future.
Moreover, only those with the best academic
results should be allowed to pursue teaching profession. Their salary
and other benefits should be like first class officers with no option
for extra coaching. The teachers must pass a rigorous training. We can
learn from Finland who has an extraordinary schooling method as it is
the question of the survival of our society.
We must not provide
any smartphone, tablet or access to social media sites to our children
until they turn 18. Computer education should adopt minimal access to
internet. Parents, guardians and teachers must monitor the children and
teenagers even if they protest against that monitoring. While we are
protesting for the punishment of the rapists, maybe we are raising
thousands of future rapists at our homes.
Most importantly, we
need political commitment to eliminate rape or sexual violence. Firstly,
our politicians and their activists should be of clean character. They
should be respectful to women and children. The government officials
should also have clean characters. If they uphold the safety and
security of women and children, it will be very easy to eliminate rape
or sexual assault. Our public personalities like; actors, directors,
poets, writers, singers, sportsmen etc. must hold good character. Drug
abuse and disrespectful use of women has become very common in this
circle though they represent the society. We must consider the character
while we place, promote or reward someone at these levels.
Minister Sheikh Hasina has played a tremendous role in transforming the
condition of women and children in Bangladesh. But crimes like rape are
snatching our achievements. We must restore our social and family
values. We know, PM Hasina can also realize this challenge and we
believe she will take some drastic steps to improve the lives of
Bangladeshi women and children. The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Centre (DRC)
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