Few things in this world are as abhorrent as the rape and murder of children.
But the statistics just keep getting worse.
According to the latest report published by Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum, an organization dedicated to safeguarding children’s rights, in the first quarter of this year alone, 25 children were raped followed by murder -- compared to 22 for all of last year.
The separate figures for rape and murder, respectively, are much higher.
Children are the most vulnerable group of people in any society, and simply put, we are failing them badly.
The official numbers and news reports on child abuse do not even begin to tell the whole story, and countless incidences of abuse simply go unreported in this country.
It is high time to take a long hard look at endemic child abuse, and the culture of impunity that leads to these rapes and murders.
Bangladesh has done well in so many areas, recently graduating out of LDC status, but ultimately, a nation cannot call itself civilized with so many child rapes and murders on its conscience.
To end this curse, it is up to the government to ensure that not a single perpetrator of violence against children walks free -- the law should dish out the harshest punishment for child rapists and child murderers, no exceptions.
Secondly, programs must be put in place to take children out of dangerous situations that make them vulnerable to victimization.
Protecting our children properly will require extensive reform in our country’s institutions, customs, and economic structure, but it is hard to think of a worthier goal.
The future of this country rests on today’s children -- we cannot let them down.