Rape Victims: Children the most VULNERABLE
12:00 AM, February 07, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:31 AM, February 07, 2019

Rape Victims: Children the most VULNERABLE

29 of the 46 reported victims in Jan are below 18

A staggering 29 of the 46 victims raped in January were below 18, showing that children remain vulnerable to sexual violence.

The shocking data is based on reports this paper published last month, but a rights body claimed that the numbers were even higher.

Among the 29, who constitute 63 percent of the total victims, 13 are aged between five and 12.

Three victims, including a five-year-old, were killed after rape and one died of injuries five days after being raped and tortured.

Eleven of the 46 victims were gang-raped.

At least five of the victims were physically challenged. Two belonged to indigenous communities.

In a recent report, legal aid and human rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) claimed that the number of women and children raped in January was higher.

It said 71 women and children were raped and 32 were between six and 18 years old.

The rights body did not mention the age of the rest in the report based on its own findings and media reports.

The ASK claimed that 10 victims were killed after rape.

Its records of 2018 show that 732 women and children were victims of rape across the country.

Prof Mahjabeen Haque, chairperson of Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, Dhaka University, pointed out diminishing social values and religious practices, easy availability of porn, and a culture of impunity as the primary reasons behind the rising number of rape incidents.

Detailed description of such crimes published by the media also instigates criminals, she said, suggesting careful handling of such reports.

She said children were targeted in particular because they could resist the least and could be intimidated easily.

Mahjabeen recommended that parents make their children aware of the dangers. “They should explain what is a 'good touch' and a 'bad touch'. They should tell their children not to go with strangers.”

The psychologist mentioned if a child feels uncomfortable around someone in a lift, he or she should press all the buttons.

Muntasir Maruf, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Shaheed M Monsur Ali Medical College in Sirajganj, said, “Since children can be abused, scared or allured easily, they are becoming the easy targets of rape and sexual abuse.

“Children who fall victim to abuse may suffer from mental disorders, depression and social phobia in future,” he said alluding to cases that he had handled.  

Muntasir further said many incidents go unreported as families refrain from lodging complaints due to the social stigma.

Less than 2 percent of rape cases filed between 2012 and 2017 ended in conviction. This is mainly because many perpetrators force the victims to settle the matter outside courts and the legal process is so humiliating that the victims back out.

Data from Dhaka metropolitan areas paint even a grimmer picture. Just 1.06 percent cases saw convictions between 2002 and 2017, according to court and prosecution sources.

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