To prevent online sexual harassment of women, existing laws need to be strictly implemented, speakers said at a programme yesterday marking International Women's Day (March 8).
They also said that people need to be more aware regarding the use of online platforms and victims of sexual harassment should never be blamed.
The programme was jointly organised by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) and embassies of Denmark, Sweden and Norway at the VIP Lounge of Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Speaking as a guest, Barrister Sara Hossain said that a victim of sexual harassment does not feel encouraged to disclose such incident, not even to her friends, as the existing laws are not as effective as they should be.
“We have laws but they are not properly implemented.” she said, while talking about online sexual harassment.
Citing examples, she said that in many cases victims are compelled by some corrupt law enforcement officials to compromise with the perpetrators.
Emphasising on the need for awareness on online sexual harassment, Executive Director of ASK, Sheepa Hafiza, said that although online sexual harassment has become rampant, many may not be familiar with the term.
Echoing Barrister Sara Hossain, she said laws regarding sexual harassment need to be enforced.
Sheepa alleged that in some cases, law enforcers do not demonstrate an amicable attitude towards women when dealing with cases of harassment.
She also emphasised the need to ensure human rights for all alongside ensuring women's rights.
Rumana Rothi, a youth activist, said that women face restrictions from every corner of society, and such barriers are limiting development.
“If a girl wants to travel alone, parents do not allow them. When a girl wants to explore the virtual world, she faces sexual harassment,” she said.