According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh saw a record 1,413 incidents of rapes last year with a pathetic conviction rate of 3% in the cases relating to violence against women and children
Four teenage girls have been gang-raped in two separate incidents in Dhaka on the same day, alongside a number of similar heinous incidents of violence against women in other districts.
Of the four young rape victims, two were allegedly violated at their home by three intruders in the city’s Kadamtali area of Basabo, while the other two were gang-raped by three youths in Badda area. Both incidents took place on Sunday.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh saw a record 1,413 incidents of rapes last year with a pathetic conviction rate of 3% in the cases relating to violence against women and children.
In the Kadamtali incident Sunday night, three youths entered into a house, locked three minor boys in a room and allegedly gang-raped the two girls — one of them 15-year-old resident of that house and another 13-year-old who were visiting.
According to case details, the 15-year-old’s father works as a security guard and mother is in Oman as a migrant worker.
The family’s house was invaded and the girls’ raped after the father went to work around 10pm.
Both victims were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) Sunday night and now being treated at the hospital’s One-Stop Crisis Centre (OCC).
A sister-in-law of one of the victims filed the case with police, who later apprehended the three accused.
The case statement said three men knocked the door of my father-in-law’s house around 11pm. The men entered the house forcibly and locked all of them inside after the girls opened the door.
Immediately afterwards, they beat the three boys, locked them in another room and raped the two girls.
On Monday, a Dhaka court also granted police three days to grill the three accused — Rana Bepari, 32, Sohel Bepari, 38, and Aktar Ali, 38.
In another incident, two other teenage girls, who are friends and aged below 15, were allegedly gang-raped by three perpetrators in the capital’s Badda area after Sunday midnight.
The girls had apparently lost direction on their way back home after returning late from another friend’s house. The three youths took them to an isolated place after promising to help them, and allegedly took turns in raping the girls.
The victims were later admitted to the DMCH OCC. No one has been apprehended by police yet over this incident.
No respite from rapes
Since last Friday, at least three incidents of rapes have been reported on the outskirts of Dhaka.
On Sunday, apart from the gang rapes inside the capital city, a fourth-grade student was raped in Tangail and a readymade garment worker was allegedly raped a coworker in Sreepur of Gazipur.
On Friday, a 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped in Tongi.
Before that, another woman was gang-raped in Narayanganj’s Rupganj upazila on Wednesday.
Out of the total 1,413 rapes in 2019, 562 victims were children. Of these children, 84 were gang-raped, according to ASK.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), however, put the figure of child rape as high as 1,005 last year, a 76% increase from the number of such incident in 2018. On average, about 84 children were raped in every month of 2019.
However, not all rape victims and their families across Bangladesh reported the incidents because of the fear of social stigma and persecution.
As per court sources, the prosecution fail to prove the charges against all those accused of raping for a number of reasons — one of which is having no witnesses with an airtight testimony — and that leads to an embarrassingly low conviction rate in the rape cases.
Flawed investigations, non-compliance with due procedure in filing cases and the lengthy process of case disposal are among the key reasons behind this situation.
Human rights activist Md Nur Khan told Dhaka Tribune: “Firstly, the society is not fully stable. As there is no justice, we are failing to send criminals the message that nobody can escape justice by committing such crimes.
“Besides, the victims themselves always get more victimized. Police don’t take the cases seriously and society neglects them, while criminals get released.”
Talking about the low conviction rate in rape cases, Nur added: “The first and most weak point is the tendency of hiding these incidents.
“Whoever comes forward revealing the matter, she faces threats in the middle of the case proceedings. Sometimes, the case is disposed of in exchange of money, the plaintiff backs out facing political pressure, or police investigations are weak.”