A prescription to end gender violence
We have to end the culture of impunity, build a sensitive judiciary for women, and reform the existing laws. Although the rape law has been amended, it is not widely publicised, and its application is limited.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) yesterday presented a 16-point recommendation to stop violence against women and girls, in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
These recommendations include changing the patriarchal attitude and practising a culture free of violence against women, building social and family values about human rights, stopping harmful practices for women and introducing gender-sensitivity training for all justice sector actors, including police, forensic departments, lawyers and judges.
The recommendations were put forward at a conference held at the National Press Club.
November 25 marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
The organisation also recommended taking initiatives to promote and implement the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act 2010 and making necessary reforms including in the rape law.
The organisation also suggested strictly suppressing the negative propaganda against women (online and offline) in the name of social, political or religious gatherings, stopping victim-blaming and propaganda against women in the media, implementing the directions of the Hon'ble High Court Division to prevent sexual harassment in educational institutions and workplaces, and ending the culture of providing political, administrative, social shelter to the perpetrators.
Advocate Maksuda Akter, lobby and advocacy director of BMP, who presented the keynote at the conference, said that although significant progress has been made in terms of socio-economic empowerment of women in the 50 years of independence, it has not been possible to establish women's human rights yet.
"Despite various women's movements, human rights movements and various public-private initiatives to prevent violence against women, the incidents continue to rise at an alarming rate, further fuelled by the pandemic," she added.
BMP president Fauzia Moslem said in order to stop violence against women, the socio-cultural norms need to be challenged.
"We have to end the culture of impunity, build a sensitive judiciary for women, and reform the existing laws. Although the rape law has been amended, it is not widely publicised, and its application is limited," she said.
Maleka Banu, general secretary of the central committee of the organisation, Sima Moslem, joint general secretary, BMP, Advocate Masuda Rehana Begum, assistant general secretary of BMP, legal aid secretary Sahana Kabir, among others, spoke at the event, moderated by the organisation's lawyer Advocate Dipti Sikder.