The event marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and protested the recent rise of such incidents in the country
Women of different ages and from various walks of life on Wednesday took part in an event in Dhaka that aimed to shore up all-out efforts to end violence against women in the country.
Under the banner of Feminists Across Generations, also known as FemGen Alliance, rights activists and general women started the demonstration by bringing out a torch procession -- with the slogan "Muktir Michhil" or “March for Freedom.”
The procession began around 7pm from before the office of the rights organization Naripokkho on Satmasjid Road in Dhaka's Dhanmondi.
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More than a hundred women joined the procession, which ended in front of parliament on Manik Mia Avenue.
The event marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed worldwide on Wednesday, and protested the recent rise of such incidents in the country.
Although the protest was not socially distanced, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the demonstrators were wearing face masks. Many of them were also seen wearing blindfolds as a sign of protest.
On the way there, the demonstrators organized a flash mob in front of Dhanmondi 9/A area , with the theme “Tui Dhorshok” or “You are a rapist.”
A second flash mob was arranged in front of Shankar area in Dhanmondi, the third one in front of Abahani Field intersection in Dhanmondi and the fourth one in front of Dhanmondi 27. The fifth and final flash mob was arranged in front of parliament.
The protesters also read out a statement before parliament.
“We can walk far to eliminate rape culture. I will need not only to bring about changes to the law but also to the mindset of many men who always think women and their attire are responsible for rape,” said Tasafi Hossain, an activist of Feminists Across Generation, an anti-gender based violence movement.
“They are trying to teach us how to walk, talk and dress to avoid harassment. We need to know that rapists are only to blame for rape, no one else,” she said.
“Here the government, state and all authorities having an impact can play their roles. Even health service providers and law enforcers have a role to play. The culture of blaming women needs to be changed,” she added.
“We want this kind of program to continue. We want to keep the issue alive countrywide. There should always be discussions over women’s rights as incidents of rape, repression and torture against women never stop,” she further said.
Barrister Sara Hossain, a prominent human rights activist, said repression of women was now a much-talked-about topic but moves on the part of the government to prevent such repression were not notable.
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“Here we are saying that women do not want safety, they need liberty,” she said.
The tendency to confine women and girls at home in the name of providing security, marrying them off early should be stopped. Victim blaming should also be stopped, she added.
“This is a new kind of protest that women have started. This should spread across the country,” she said.
This was the second such event since several hundred females joined a torch procession in the early hours of October 14, in protest against a sudden rise in incidents of rape and violence against women and girls across Bangladesh.
The previous torch procession was well appreciated by netizens, with media outlets covering it prominently as such all-women protests have been rare in the Muslim majority country.
According to Ain-o-Salish Kendra, between January and September, 975 women were raped, 43 women were killed after rape and 204 women were victims of attempted rape.
During the same period, 12 women committed suicide in connection with or in pursuance of rape.
More than a hundred women joined the procession that ended in front of the parliament, on Manik Mia Avenue.