BANGLADESH Mahila Parishad has come up with a report based on collation analysis of facts published in newspapers that portrays a horrific picture of repression against women and children. The period covered is January 1 to June 30, 2014, and the revelation is startling. In those six months, the number of victims of repression stood at 2,208, averaging 368 per month.
The incidence of rape is quite high at 431, of whom 84 were gang-raped and 45 killed after rape. Dowry-related killings come next at 127 followed by child repression on 133 and acid burn cases numbering 21. Although stringent punishments are prescribed in the law an impunity culture grows ever stronger as these hardly get applied. It is widely alleged that in almost all cases of rape, police are forced to delay arrests as investigations get derailed by directives from higher-ups.
It is imperative that the government and the community ensure justice to the rape victims and take preventative measures against rape and sexual harassment, the latter being a precursor of the former.
Only in words do we hear of zero-tolerance to the crimes but, in deed, influence is peddled to protect the perpetrators. As if to compound the misery of the rape victims law puts the burden of proof on the victim rather than on the rapist. This has to change.
We endorse the recommendations of the women leaders for shelter homes for women and children in every district, together with special and separate tribunals for women and children to try cases of repression against them.