Some 25 female journalists from different media outlets yesterday took to the streets, expressing solidarity with the women who recently shared their bitter experiences of sexual harassment and abuse on social media.
Holding a large banner that read “Solidarity with #MeToo”, they formed a human chain in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club and demanded proper investigation into each of the complaints that has surfaced as well as exemplary punishment for the culprits.
Addressing the human chain, Nasimun Ara Haque Minu, president of Bangladesh Female Journalists' Association, said some women recently shared their experiences of sexual harassment on social media.
She demanded that all institutions and organisations implement the High Court guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace and educational institutions.
She also urged the government to take effective measures to address sexual harassment, which has become a rampant national issue.
From the human chain, she announced that they will form another human chain on the issue on Sunday morning at the same place.
Momtaz Bilkis Banu, president of Bangladesh Women Journalists' Forum, lauded the courage of those who broke the taboo regarding talking openly about harrowing experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.
“Women do not feel safe anywhere anymore, because societal norms had silenced them over the years and encouraged perpetrators and predators,” she said, stressing the need for generating awareness on sexual harassment among parents and guardians.
Sharmin Rinvi, news editor of private television channel BanglaVision, urged political parties not to give nomination to anyone with record of committing sexual harassment in the upcoming parliamentary election.
Expressing solidarity with the victims, Udisa Islam, chief reporter of online news outlet Bangla Tribune, said each institution should take effective measures against sexual harassment.
Movement against sexual harassment will continue, she said.
At the human chain, Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo, general secretary of Dhaka Reporters' Unity, expressed solidarity with the movement on behalf of his organisation.
#MeToo has become a global movement against sexual harassment and assault. It spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. In India, the movement began gaining prominence and gathered sharp momentum in October 2018 centring the film industry, news media, and even the political arena.