Rural women's double jeopardy
JUST how vulnerable the village women are to harassment, coercion and graft while seeking justice or claiming other entitlements has been brought to bold relief by a TIB study. The people who are assigned and paid by the State to provide assistance to repressed women and other forms of legitimate services to the rural women are themselves appearing in the role of tormentors or exploiters.
A TIB study has revealed the high costs to the women's quest for justice and their efforts to receive the services they are entitled to. The instances are shocking, cited as they are based on interviews with 66 women who were either victims of corruption or having knowledge about it. For example, police and court officials had to be allegedly bribed between TK.300 and Tk.40,000 at different stages of cases filed for repression. Also, the women had to pay in cutbacks to officials to receive services like reproductive healthcare, maternity allowance and stipend. The findings were seemingly cross-checked with opinions of 13 officials of service providing agencies and local government representatives and the output of group discussion with 27 women having been reflected on the study.
With such limited scope of the survey, the TIB itself does not proffer any generalisation but there is no denying how institutionalised corruption is becoming with newer facets.
We believe that for the sake good governance and efficient service delivery, the government will attach due importance to the TIB findings.