All the protests that are happening around the country will mean nothing if there are no actions taken
For too long, women have feared for their safety in Bangladesh; it appears that nowhere is it safe for them, be it workplaces, households, or the streets.
Suffice to say, women in this country have had enough.
Just before the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, hundreds of women were out on the streets of Dhaka, in an unprecedented procession, together with torches, anti-rape banners, festoons, and placards, and a 12-point charter of demands -- ranging from ensuring swift justice to repealing archaic laws to reforming education -- focused on one singular issue: A safer Bangladesh for women.
It is unfortunate that it has come to this, that hundreds of women are having to take to the streets to demand for something as fundamental as safety and security to not be raped and abused.
The protesters have staked their claim, and have put forward their demands. It is now time for the state, and those with power and authority, to prove that they are indeed for the people, and address and act on these demands.
Ultimately though, all the protests that are happening around the country will mean nothing if there are no actions taken by the authorities concerned. Every day of inaction from the authorities means more rapes, and more rapists emboldened to continue their vile and heinous intentions. Simply slapping a death penalty on to the problem is not a real solution, as the problem lies deep within our culture.
We call it rape culture in Bangladesh because it truly has become ingrained, and as such, to bring about change will require massive effort. This starts with acknowledgement, and for the state to hear the voices of women who have been pleading for their safety for a very long time.
It takes a concerted effort to bring systemic change, and when it comes to the protection and safety of women in Bangladesh, we have a long way to go.