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‘It is time to tell men not to rape’

  • Published at 05:46 pm November 8th, 2019
Speakers at a Dhaka Lit Fest panel on Friday, November 8, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Speakers at 'No World For Women' session on the second day of Dhaka Lit Fest talked about the systematic rape culture in Bangladesh and the ways to combat it

Men need to be sensitized to the idea of combating rape culture, speakers at a session on the second day of Dhaka Lit Fest said. 

"No World For Women" session, moderated by Tasaffy Hossain, included Mia Seppo, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, BBC journalist and author Priyanka Dubey and Maheen Sultan, senior fellow of Brac Institute of Governance and Development at Brac University. 

"There is a fair amount of focus around teaching girls not to be raped," Seppo said. "But it is time to tell men not to rape."

Impunity feeds the virus of rape culture. "Victim blaming has to stop," she added. 

“The expectations from men are often the wrong ones...It is time for a new masculinity which is not about power, which is about equality,” she said. 

She said rape culture is systemic, and governed by the culture.

“The system still fails women,” Seppo said. 

Stressing importance on building a safe public place for women, she said: “We need to focus on prevention. We need to see if public spaces in any way enable sexual violence towards women.”

Priyanka Dubey pointed out those women who stand up for rape survivors often become subjected to social stigma as well. 

She said she wanted to give the rape survivors a face in her book "No Nation for Women."

Media reporting on rape incident was discussed in the session as well. 

Dubey said media often reduce a rape survivor to number and statistic. 

Meanwhile, Maheen Sultan said law reform is very important when it comes to rape as rape survivors need quicker justice. 

"It is also important to provide mental support, mental health support and solidarity to the rape survivors to help them overcome the mental trauma," she said. 

Tasaffy Hossain, moderator of the panel discussion, said parents need to have conversations with their children about rape culture.

“You read the news on newspaper and hide it from your children. Your children are having the conversation anyway but not with you,” she said. 

Echoing Tasaffy, Priyanka said, “The fight should start from home. It is not going to come as a cakewalk to you.”

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