Violence Against Women, Children: Incidents shot up in May | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:06 AM, June 11, 2020

Violence Against Women, Children: Incidents shot up in May

MJF finds over 13,000 victims after telesurvey on 53,000

A total of 11,025 women suffered domestic violence during the countrywide shutdown last month, says a survey report of Manusher Jonno Foundation.

Of them, 4,947 women were subjected to psychological abuse and 3,589 were abused over financial matters.

Disclosing the findings of the survey through a virtual press conference yesterday, the rights organisation said the 11,025 victims were among 13,494 women and children who experienced different forms of violence in 53 districts of the country last month.

The report titled "Violence against Women and Children: Covid-19" said a staggering 4,160 victims admitted that they were abused for the first time in their life. Of them, 2,841 were women and 1,319 children.

The MJF observed that the number of incidents of violence against women and children increased in May by 31 percent compared to the data of April.

According to the study, 97.4 percent of the total 11,323 women victims of different forms of abuses were subjected to domestic violence. In most cases, women were tortured by their husbands.

It said 4,947 women had to endure psychological torture and 2,085 physical torture by their husbands or other family members while 404 suffered sexual abuse at their home.

Apart from the incidents of domestic violence, 179 women faced sexual harassment, 48 were either raped or faced attempted rape, 17 were murdered and 54 more were subjected to sexual harassment while receiving relief goods.

In May, 170 incidents of child marriage took place, while another 233 were averted as MJF affiliated bodies took prompt actions.

Moreover, 1,621 children were subjected to torture within their families while 67 faced violence at their workplace during the shutdown, the report said.

A total of 80 children suffered different other forms of violence during this period. Of them, 19 were raped, 18 were subjected to attempted rape, 19 were murdered, 21 were kidnapped, and three others suffered sexual harassment while receiving relief goods, the MJF said.

The field-level data for the survey was collected by MJF's 108 affiliated organisations in 53 districts.

Some 53,340 respondents were interviewed with some specific questions by phone. Of them, 37, 434 were women and 15,906 children.

Speaking at the press conference, MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said the rising trend of violence against women and children was very alarming and "the situation was more gruesome".

In April, some 4,249 women and 456 children were subjected to different forms of domestic violence. The MJF had documented the data based on replies from 16,203 respondents in 27 districts.

Shaheen Anam said many people lost their jobs and livelihoods during the Covid-19 shutdown which led to the torture of women at their home over financial matters.

The rights body believed the real scenario of domestic violence during the Covid-19 was more grave than what they found in the survey.

The MJF executive director urged the government to put emphasis on ending domestic violence alongside focusing on other necessities like food assistance and income opportunities.

She said they had to conduct the survey with limitations as the respondents could not be contacted in person due to social distancing rules.

Apart from documenting the report, the MJF also helped the victims with medical, counseling, mediation and legal support.

The MJF called upon the authorities concerned, including the home, law, and women and children affairs ministries, and the inspector general of police, to direct their field-level officials to strengthen their activities, keeping curbing domestic violence a priority.

It also urged the authorities of the national helpline services like "109" and "999" to step up their support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rights body stressed the need for taking effective steps to set up shelter centres so that women in distress could take refuge there anytime.

It also put emphasis on bringing the culprits to book and taking steps regarding hearings at virtual courts to ensure their punishment even under the current situation.

The MJF called upon the media to continue publishing reports on violence against woman.Officials of MJF, members of its affiliated organisations in Dhaka, Barishal, and Thakurgaon, also spoke at the press conference.

 

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