The story of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who succumbed to her injuries five days after she was set on fire, because of her protests against sexual harassment that she had suffered at the hands of her madrasa's principal, is as tragic as it is unsurprising. Sexual assault or harassment is nothing new in this country. Although not every incident generates the same response, the truth is, almost every case ends up the same way, with the perpetrators getting off scot-free. Will Nusrat's killers be brought to justice? I doubt they will. But even if they are, there is no telling if it will have an impact on the culture of impunity which emboldens sexual predators in our society. Because of this culture and the social stigma attached with sexual harassment, often the victims are forced to remain silent.
It's really important that we break this silence and send a message, loud and clear, that no such offences will be tolerated. Otherwise, tragedies like that of Nusrat will recur and many more Nusrats will have to suffer, or worse still, die, as a result of that.
Nuzhat Rifa Ehsan