We need a judiciary that treats cases of sexual violence on a top-priority basis
Despite widespread protests last year demanding justice for victims of sexual violence and a government initiative which saw an amendment to existing laws which would allow perpetrators to be given the death penalty if found guilty, the recent rape of a schoolgirl in Kalagaban has highlighted the fact that, at the root, not much has changed.
From accusations by the victim’s family of mishandling of the case by the police to citizens of the country blaming the victim for the crime, in Bangladesh, rape culture is very much well and alive.
This is merely another example of how our current ideas of solving the problem -- which merely attempts to fix generations of patriarchal and misogynistic notions by simplifying acts of sexual violence and separating them from national cultural norms -- have little to no meaningful effect, and merely seek to brush the issue under the rug temporarily -- until next time.
Authorities concerned must understand that when the very notion of consent is unfamiliar to significant portions of the population -- including a former teacher at the school the girl was enrolled in -- and they jump to nonsensical “one hand cannot clap alone” rationale to dehumanize a young woman who had literally bled to death, there must be something fundamentally wrong with the way our society thinks and functions.
Why such mental gymnastics are absent during other violent crimes is not much of a mystery considering that, when it comes to rape, many people feel that it is an act that is “inevitable” for men under certain circumstances and that women must try to “avoid” such a fate.
As this most recent case highlights, such attitudes have already been inherited by a new generation of Bangladeshis -- and no amount of economic progress is enough to hide the fact.
Widespread awareness campaigns and cultural reforms notwithstanding, we at least need a judiciary that treats cases of sexual violence on a top-priority basis and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to investigating such incidents and ensuring that justice is served.