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Dhaka Tribune

Saima Wazed: Why should women be afraid?

She has called on all to be sincere in building a Bangladesh free from oppression

Update : 15 Oct 2020, 11:03 AM

Internationally renowned mental health specialist and Centre for Research and Information (CRI) Co-Chairman Saima Wazed has said the mentality towards women has to change in order to reduce rape and oppression against women in Bangladesh.

Saima, the daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, suggested raising boys and girls with equal rights and respect at home from an early age to establish the desired society.

She was speaking at the inaugural session of the awareness campaign “Women's safety in Public Places" on Wednesday.

The event was jointly organized by the Centre for Research and Information (CRI), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

“Why should we girls be uncomfortable? Why should we be afraid? Why do we have to cover our bodies and walk like this, otherwise we will be blamed? Why do we have to grow up with fear from childhood? Why can't we continue with courage?” she asked.

“Yes, self-protection skills should be taught, of course. But why do we have to stay this way? Why do we have to carry gender identity? Why should we be afraid just because we are females? We have to be extra careful while moving outside, why? Why can't we do what we want, what we can do?” Saima said.

Saima is also the ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). She was also a member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO's) Mental Health Expert Advisory Panel.

She called on all to be sincere in building a Bangladesh free from oppression.

“We want to take our country to a place where no girl will be harassed. No girl will be disrespected. May we move forward with dignity. That which I am dreaming of, that which I want to do with an open mind so that I can do it.” The CRI co-chairman added.

Saima, also a renowned autism activist, emphasized on teaching gender equality from an early age. “We have to teach our boys this from childhood. Honour comest from home, first.”

The prime minister's daughter also called upon all men and women to unite and build resistance wherever there are incidents of violence against women in schools, colleges, workplaces or on the streets.

“We first see it as violence; sexual aggression and rape comes later. But before that comes attitude, mentality. When we ignore all this, social change does not happen and the problem remains.” she further said.


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