Mahmodul’s earnest mission to combat violence against women
Student Community against Rape and Sexual Violence (SCaRSV) is an organisation founded by A B M Mahmodul Hasan in 2015, which aims to protect the rights of women and girls across Bangladesh.
"I was born with male privilege," says Mahmodul. "I wanted to do something to break the gender bias, and an incident of rape at TSC in 2014 was a wake-up call for me."
Soon, he gathered students and organised a parade to stand up for the rape victim until justice prevails. The incident inspired him to take a firm stance against rape and sexual violence, leading to the formation of SCaRSV.
Until 2017, SCaRSV organised different road parades, protesting against sexual violence and gender discrimination.
"Due to fellow social workers being students, we often have to restrict our actions and protests thinking of their futures," adds Mahmodul.
Members of the organisation hosted a press conference in 2017 at Dhaka Press Club, where they discussed their goals with many noted human rights activists and NGOs.
SCaRSV initiated the project, 'Raise Human, Bring Light', the same year, reaching out to educational institutions in different districts.
It included running awareness programmes at educational institutions against rape and sexual violence, operating a quick response team for any kind of violence against women all over the country, as well as a 24/7 hotline for helping victims from all corners of Bangladesh.
Under this project, SCaRSV continues to provide law and technical support as well as raise social awareness across social media. So far, they have reached 850 educational institutions.
Under 'Raise Human, Bring Light', SCaRSV continues to provide law and technical support as well as raise social awareness across social media. So far, they have reached 850 educational institutions.
The organisation found out that less than two percent schools in the country have sexual harassment committees, during their campaigns.
In 2020, after a Dhaka University student was raped in Kormitola, SCaRSV submitted a 'Six Point Demands Memorandum' to the government. Among other things, it included the formation of a special cell under the Home Ministry for quick response on sexual violence-related cases.
"The evidence of rape disappears from a victim's body if they take a shower, and naturally, after 48 hours," says Mahmodul. "How can they prove the rape if law enforcers take days to register, investigate, and submit the case to court?"
Furthermore, SCaRSV plans to mark unsafe roads for women, showing where CCTV cameras are absent around the city, under their project 'Safe City for Women', which will be presented to the city councillor.
The organisation hopes to march ahead, working towards a nation that is void of sexual violence and gender discrimination.
The author is a freelance journalist.