About 56.3% of the women who used the hotline said they are not satisfied with the national helpline service, says a study
A recent study has found more than 85% of Bangladeshi young women never used the national helpline number “109” for violence against women (VAW), children or any kind of help.
International NGO ActionAid Bangladesh conducted the survey among 102 Bangladeshi young women, aged between 15 and 35, this week. Findings of the rapid survey were revealed through a virtual event on Wednesday.
The study found that 85.3% of the respondents never dialled 109 for help and more than half (56.3%) of the remaining 14.7% who used the hotline at some point of their life are not satisfied with the service.
The respondents pointed out a few challenges young women face in Bangladesh such as the services meant to protect women from violence not being effective enough, unsafe environment for women, and the harassment and abuse women have to face in public transport.
Joya Islam, a female youth representative, said she always notices women getting harassed and verbally abused in public transports by the male passengers, drivers, and their helpers.
“No man bats an eye when a woman is harassed and verbally abused in a public bus. Why does it always have to be young women protesting these kinds of harassment against women,” she questioned.
Male youth should come forward and raise their voice, she said.
Nazmul Ahsan, manager of Young People, ActionAid Bangladesh, said one of the major challenges Covid-19 has brought to the young women is that many female students are going to drop out from school as schools are closed.
“Many girls might become victims of child marriage and as a result, they will be deprived of their rights and opportunities as young women in the next few years,” he added.
Challenges faced by other youths
MH Rubayet, a representative from the transgender youth community, said the major problem they face is that neither the common people nor many policymakers have clear understating about sexual minorities.
“It is difficult to make people understand sexual minorities exist. I have to hide my identity to apply for a job or rent a place,” she said.
Mehedi Janet, a male representative of the youth, said people have this general misconception that women are the only ones who have to face discriminations, however, indigenous youth, rural youth, and Dalit youth face more discriminations than youth who are comparatively privileged.
Arka Chakraborty, executive director of Dhrubotara Youth development foundation, said young people are the front liners to fight if there is any crisis: however, youth organizations do not get enough stimulus packages compared to other sectors.