Korima Begum, Bangladesh
APMA 2019

Once upon a time, in Bangladesh, people would be shocked if they heard the word “rape.” But since then, this word has grown to become a part of their daily lives.  Every day, incidents of rape occur across the country. Currently, however, cases have increased at gravely alarming rates. According to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum, almost a thousand children were raped ten months since the beginning of 2019. These statistics clearly indicate the severity of this human rights violation.

Whatever the reason for rape in Bangladesh, the most frightening thing about it is the possible “normalization” of this act in our daily life. Humankind is naturally adaptive to their surroundings and contemporary practices. With the rate with which rape is increasing and multiplying day by day, it is possible that humankind may no longer feel outraged when hearing of incidents of rape. This will most definitely have severe impacts on society at large.

It is high time to be aware and consciously tackle this social problem.

If we just look at the statistics of rape in Bangladesh for the last five years,  one can get an overall idea how the numbers of reported rape and killing of a child have multiplied over the years. Many issues are considered factors for this rise. On 21 August 2019, the Bangladeshi High Court claimed that delayed jurisdiction and punishment for rape cases is the major cause of of the increase in cases of sexual abuse and rape in Bangladesh. Although this may be a contributing factor, there is something deeper that induces rapists to commit this nefarious deed. For instance, the psychology of the rapist can be considered as the prime cause of rape in Bangladesh. How will punishment tackle this social and psychological problem if the perspectives and ways of looking towards women cannot be changed?

Women are looked at as simply objects to satisfy a man’s sexual desire. A woman is no longer human. They do not possess minds, they are just bodies that should respond to a man’s demand. Pornography, displaying illicit content on the cinema and over-spreading of technological participation can be mentioned as major contributing factors for the current views about women.

Another major factor catalyst that is responsible for increasing rape in Bangladesh is the indifference to the religious rules, social norms, and traditional lifestyle. They forget that although one has to “think globally,” one should also “act locally”.

Knowledge production is also a problem. In this ultramodern era, it is assumed that religious boundaries are linked to traditional society while secularist thinking is linked to modern society. This notion has sparked a light in the mind of mass people especially among the young people not to bother deeply with religious roles and boundaries and frequently male and female are always together. This has paved the way female bodies to be utilized for man’s sake and women are made helpless and defenseless.

Many issues deserve deeper discussion and debate. The causes of rape and its increasing rate is multidimensional. The tiny effort that we can make to protect our child is to grow public awareness towards tackling such kinds of human rights violations. The security of a child should be taken collectively.

Photo from Associated Press.

*The contents of this opinion piece are solely those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the view of the either Global Campus of Human Rights Asia Pacific, the universities under it, or the APMA program.

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