The recent report by Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samiti, which states 21 women were either raped or gang raped in the last 13 months on public transport, cannot help but the bring the ugly truth of women’s safety to light.
It seems that Bangladesh, when it comes to making its women feel safe on its streets, has continued to fail and disappoint.
Of the 21 women, the fact that nine were gang raped, that too by drivers and helpers of the vehicles, indicate a much more sickening truth: That these are not lone incidents, but part of a pattern of a diseased mindset, which significant portions of the population inhabit.
And it is all too common for the victims in such instances to remain silent, or to be treated with derision and disrespect, their cases taken as nothing short of an inevitability of what they were wearing, where they were going, and at what time.
The timeline and consistency with which such vile attacks have continued to take place speak of two things: Impunity and incompetence.
It is only because perpetrators feel that they can get away with the crime, and the fact that law enforcement remains repeatedly unable to catch perpetrators, that rape and harassment of women remain a problem that refuses to go away.
By keeping our public transport system so unsafe, the message we are sending to women is clear: Stay home. The roads are not for you.
How can we sit back and allow this to happen to women, who play such a significant role in our society, as contributors to the economy, as members of our neighbourhood, and, most importantly, as human beings?
By sitting back, and allowing such behaviour to continue, we have normalized rape culture in our society. We cannot, by any means, allow such a culture to persist.