There has been a sharp rise in the rape and murder of children in Bangladesh in 2017.
A study from Bangladesh Manabadhikar Bastabayan Sangstha (BSEHR) reveals that 241 children were murdered up to the end of October, of which 38 were killed by their parents for reasons including domestic disputes, drug addiction and attempts to hide extra-marital affairs.
A total of 172 children were killed in the whole of 2016.
Along with the spike in child murders, incidents of child rape have also increased at an alarming rate. According to a report, 295 child rapes were reported in the first ten months of 2017, compared to 158 in 2016 and 141 in 2015.
According to several psychologists, degradation of moral values, pornography, and drug addiction play major roles behind the rising number of child rapes.
They added that cheap internet and electronic devices have made pornography widely available to people. This has led to mental disorders among the culprits who eventually engage in child abuse.
Sociologists and psychologists have stated a myriad of reasons that could have contributed to the rise in child abuse and murder, such as family feuds, financial hardships and illicit relationships.
They added that sometimes children are murdered by parents as an act of revenge, and sometimes parents commit suicide over financial or social reasons after first killing their own children, thinking that they are freeing them from a life of suffering.
Diary of depravity
A number of sensational child murder cases have come under the spotlight in the past two months.
During this period, two children were murdered as a result of an attempt to hide extra-marital affairs, and one was killed over a domestic dispute.
On November 2, Jamil Sheikh and his daughter Nusrat, nine, were allegedly murdered by his wife’s lover, Shaheen Mallik.
A day before that incident, Shamsun Nahar and her son, Sajjadul Karim Shaon, were murdered over a family feud.
On October 15, a drug addict father killed his four-year-old son Shaheen in Dhaka’s Jatrabari area. Two days after that, a rickshaw puller named Saju, 35, raped a child in the capital.
On November 10, Dewan Rahman, 60, was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl after luring her to his home in Bhasantek area.
Professor of Sociology department at Dhaka University, Dr Nehal Karim, gave several reasons for the crimes.
“Children are sometimes murdered to hide extramarital affairs of one of their parents. Other motives include domestic disputes and financial crisis,” he told the Bangla Tribune .
“People who commit child abuse suffer from mental disorders and have greater difficulty in controlling their biological urges. Rapists are abusing children because they are easier targets.”
Professor Dr Mahfuza Khanam of DU Psychology department said: “Victims of child abuse could suffer from mental disorders and depression after reaching adulthood, and their chances of committing suicide increases due to their traumatic experience.”
National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kazi Riazul Haq recommended exemplary punishment for those committing crimes against children. He also urged NGOs and family members to raise awareness of child abuse.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune