Rape in Bangladesh

Oct 27, 2020

Bangladesh is currently faced with a greater pandemic than the COVID 19 virus, Rape. It is impossible to flick through the newspaper, scroll down your newsfeed or change your TV channel, without coming across another rape story. Maybe she was out with her husband, gang raped by a group of local boys, or an eighty year old grandmother and even an eight year old girl. No one is spared. So it makes me wonder, why am I spared? Or my little girl? Is it because I am protected by a male chaperone who drives me around? Is it because I have hired guards who stand by my gate to protect me? But what if I wasn’t the source of their living? Would these very men who protect me today, spare me or my girl? The unfortunate answer to that is no, they wouldn’t. So why am I being spared and that housewife who was gang raped and recorded wasn’t? The simple answer is, they are scared of the consequences.

They are scared of the consequences of what will happen to them if they rape me. Hence, I have the privilege to walk to my car wearing a little dress, and my bare arms showing, my chauffeur, my guards, look at me then lower their gaze.

This brings me to point that rape has never been about sexual urge but a case of power play. Otherwise, a “scantily clad” tri-state Dhaka woman like myself would be the first victim and not a helpless elderly woman or a baby in her crib. But of course, patriarchy won’t allow us to think this way. We will find some association to shift the blame to the victim. “She shouldn’t have been out so late, her clothes were so tight, that girl child’s mother should’ve been more careful”. But let’s face it, even the worst patriarch among us will agree that things have now gone totally out of hand and we need to act and we need to act immediately.

First of all, rape cases should be dealt with utmost priority with mobile courts in place to expedite these cases. Swift trials will ensure the perpetrators cannot delay or have any influence on the verdict. The outcome of these trials should be made as public as the initial outcry so that others with a similar mindset hear about the punishments.

Which brings me to my second point, strict punishment. While I don’t condone judicial killings, strict punishment should be in place if anyone is proven to be a rapist in the eyes of the law. Third, media’s role in aiding patriarchy has gone on for too long and we need to put a stop to this. Directors, scriptwriters, actors, singers play a huge role here. They can reject any role that further promotes toxic masculinity and sexualization of women through vulgar songs, normalizing stalking and harassment. Celebrities and influencers also have a moral responsibility to stand up against such atrocities to act as a positive role model for the young followers.

Fourth, we cannot deny the role of education in all this. Why is rape so prevalent in one country (especially in ones where women are fully veiled) but no so much in others? If it’s simply about sexual urge, then men who don’t rape don’t have any sexual urges? I hope this felt as absurd reading it as I felt writing it down. In order to bring about long-term changes in the mindset of the population we need to mold the way they think, we need to teach children about gender equality, consent, responsible relationships, sex education, media literacy, critical thinking, peace and tolerance. Life-skills education cannot be something only elite international school students have access to but mandatory in every school, every madrasah.

Fifth, we need to increase female participation in every all professions. More girls should be represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. But it cannot stop there. We need female representation in policy making and every leadership positions to carve the way or future female leaders. We need eradicate child marriage completely to give our girls a chance to thrive professionally. We need to understand this is not a man vs woman war. This war is between those who believe that one human does not have the right to have sexual intercourse with another either forcibly, under threat or without a person’s consent and those who don’t. Because let’s not forget women are not the only victims, when it comes to rape, little boys and men are not spared either.

Farin Daulah

Farin Daulah


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