Rimi Nath (not real name), 35, works at a private firm in Kaworan Bazar in the capital. She goes to her office from Mirpur-10 everyday by public bus. But it is very difficult for her to catch a bus in the morning competing with numerous commuters in the densely populated city.
Rimi often falls victim to "unwanted touching" in buses. At the beginning, she was afraid and could not protest against such incidents. But now she is more conscious and able to protest in case of any "unwanted touching" in public transports. Her courage and strength in this regard come from a mobile phone app developed by the government.
Rahela, 37, an inhabitant of Banasree area, is also a user of this app made to prevent violence against women and children. She said she started using this app after being abused in the marketplace.
A study, conducted by ActionAid, shows that more than 54.7 % women face physical, psychological, financial and social violence including unwarranted touches from strangers.
The research on violence against women in urban cities titled 'Whose City?' came up with the findings after conducting a survey on 1,200 Bangladeshi women living in the seven divisional cities of the country.
A total of 57% women alleged that their complaints are not taken seriously by the law enforcers, the study said, adding 65% women think that the law enforcers are more prone to blaming the victims instead of the accused.
Forty-nine percent women feel unsafe in public transports and 48% claim to feel the same while availing of public services including health services.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki said special mobile app, a computer programme designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, has been made to prevent violence against women and children.
"Sometimes it becomes difficult to seek necessary help when a incident takes place . . .Besides tracing offenders becomes tough due to lack of proper proofs... To solve these problems, a new smart-phone useable app has been made," she said.
Chumki said if such a situation arises that any women is going to be tortured or have been tortured, one will have to touch the mobile app. As soon as the app would be touched, it would send short alarm messages with the address of spot to her families, concerned police stations, National Helpline Centre (999) on Prevent Violence Against Women and police control room.
"Besides that app would preserve conversations, would take pictures after particular interval and these would be preserved in the mobile phones . . .and these would be sent automatically to national helpline centre's server," she said and added that this app would contain information of women safety and their rights.
Advocate Elina Khan, a leading human rights activist, said there are many laws in Bangladesh to prevent the growing trend of violence against women, but implementation of those is not satisfactory.