In the last two months, 184 women and children had been raped as incidents of rape make a steady climb, said Bangladesh Mahila Parishad.
Around 110 women and children were raped in the first two months of the year and another 137 in March and April, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad revealed at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday.
According to statistics provided by the organisation, at least 2,208 incidents of gender-based violence occurred over the last six months. Of them, 304 women and children were raped, 82 were gang raped, 45 were killed after rape and there were 51 cases of attempted rape.
The statistics were prepared on the basis of media reports. Many more incidents, however, go unreported, the Parishad said.
President of Mahila Parishad Ayesha Khanam expressed grave concern over the increasing trend of rape incidents, especially rape following abduction from streets and buses during travel.
The incidents are increasing day by day due to the prevailing culture of impunity, she said, alleging that almost in all the cases, the rapists are protected by their political identities and influences.
Even police are forced to delay the arrest of rapists and preparation of investigation reports upon directives from higher-ups, she claimed.
"The government should adopt a zero-tolerance stance against rapists," Khanam said, urging all to take steps to isolate the rapists socially and to ensure the safety and security of women and children.
Reading out the keynote paper, Masuda Rehana Begum, assistant secretary of the Parishad, described 14 incidents of rape or attempted rapes committed in different educational institutions by teachers or fellow students.
She recommended setting up of a separate women and children repression prevention tribunal to deal with such cases, establishing district-level shelter and rehabilitation centres for victims, and recruitment of specialist doctors for medical tests on rape victims.
Masuda mentioned 17 steps, including establishing rule of law, ensuring independent judiciary system, raising awareness and ensuring DNA and other medical tests with state expenditure to be taken to ensure justice to victims and to prevent oppression against women.
Maleka Banu, general secretary of the Parishad, among others, was present on the occasion.