Justice in Bangladesh can be hard to come by. But it seems to be much harder if one is a woman and a victim of sexual violence.
Although no official statistic for the conviction rate exists, lawyers on these cases put their professional estimate at a dismal 3%.
That means an appalling 97 out of every 100 rapists and perpetrators of sexual violence get away with their heinous crimes.
The whole litigation process for such cases is so riddled with dishonesty, inefficiency, and ill-intent that it is nearly impossible to get a fair trial. And the lack of punishment for perpetrators only perpetuates violence against women.
In Bangladesh, a victim has to face the most intractable and uncooperative police officials, incompetent and careless investigators, threats from their abusers, and a barricade of backward social attitudes that impedes any attempt at justice.
Thus, it is estimated that about 70% of cases are never reported, presumably because of the barriers mentioned above.
To solve this problem, the High Court, in 2011, issued a directive that all police stations should have a dedicated and specially trained team to deal with cases of violence against women and children.
But six years later, most police stations around the country still have not complied and our police chiefs whose duty it is to see to it that the directive is followed, are not even aware that their orders have not been carried out.
We must take the issue of gender-based violence more seriously than this if we want to create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.