Victimised twice, a woman’s fight for life
We are distressed by the news of the abduction of a rape victim from the one-stop crisis centre of Khulna Medical College Hospital—that, too, right in front of rights activists who were waiting outside to offer her legal support. According to one of the activists, who were also beaten up during the incident, about 10-12 individuals were waiting in front of the crisis centre with a microbus, and as soon as the woman came out, they forced her into the vehicle and took her away. Earlier, the victim reportedly told her doctor that Dumuria upazila's chairman, Ejaz Ahmed, had raped her on Saturday night. She also wanted to file a case with the court, not with any police station, as she said she didn't trust the police.
The fact that she did not trust the police is understandable. And who could blame her? Influential people being given a free pass by law enforcers is a longstanding problem in our country. We have seen many times how investigations into sexual abuse cases lost traction when influential people were involved. In fact, there have been instances where the police refused to even lodge complaints of sexual abuse against powerful individuals. The Khulna case shows what happens when people lose faith in the law enforcers. However, as things played out, members of the local police did go to the crisis centre to record the victim's statement. But we fail to understand why they did not take any precautionary measures to protect her. How is it that she could be abducted in broad daylight in front of a government hospital?
This is an example of double victimisation that not only illustrates the true state of law and order in our country, but also exposes the lack of security for ordinary victims of crimes, particularly when they represent a threat for powerful offenders. We call on the authorities to launch an all-out effort to rescue the victim, hold the perpetrators to account, and take appropriate legal action against the accused rapist.