None of this will happen overnight
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. As another year rolls around, the question is this: What have we done about addressing violence against women in the country?
According to Ain o Shalish Kendro, 1,178 women have been raped from January to October this year alone. When it comes to sexual harassment, 116 women were harassed in the same period; and these are numbers that we know of. Just a few days ago, a bus helper threatened to rape a second-year college student when she wanted to exercise her right of paying half the usual fare. Such is the level of safety we can “afford” to give them.
It has been 50 years since Bangladesh was liberated from Pakistan. While both men and women paid the price for it, even reading about the abuse and torture women were put through during 1971 is enough to drive someone to the precipice of madness.
Then why is it that, 50 years later, the situation for women in Bangladesh appears to be as dire as it has ever been? This newspaper has editorialized about this subject numerous times, but these fall on deaf ears. It is evident that the patriarchal mindset, where women are reduced to nothing but objects, is so pervading that rooting it out from our society is going to take a tremendous amount of work.
Yet, given the grave nature of the situation, where half of the population of the country do not feel safe, this is a problem that can no longer be ignored. There have been high-profile rape and murder cases throughout the years including one from this year. All of these have to promptly and properly be investigated. Justice has to be served, no matter who the culprit is.
None of this will happen overnight. However, Bangladesh has to crack down on this epidemic of violence against women.