The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, in its findings from the Violence Against Women Survey 2015, revealed that fully one in two women in Bangladesh have been abused at least once in their married life.
That counts for nearly 40 million married women across the country that we have collectively failed to protect.
These numbers should make us all sit up and take notice.
What often gets overlooked in Bangladesh is the culture which constantly turns a blind eye to domestic violence, and sees abuse as something that is quite normal.
We have shown so little respect for women’s agency over their own bodies that marital rape is still not even considered a crime.
The restriction of the basic freedoms for women is seen as business as usual -- over half of married women are subjected to “controlling behaviour,” according to the survey.
Our culture constantly glorifies the roles of mothers and wives, yet uses these same empty praises to shift the entire burden of work at home on to women, regardless of how much she works outside of it.
Despite overwhelming evidence, women are still made social pariahs for having the courage to walk away from abusive marriages.
To protect women from abusive marriages, and to make any real progress in ending the culture of marital violence, this deep malaise within our society must be addressed.
The typical mindset that it is acceptable to raise a hand to one’s spouse, whatever the provocation, is something that needs to change.
Marital abuse is real. It is ugly. And it is never OK.