MM Rahmatullah: Rape is currently pandemic in the country. Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim country in the world. And most of the people in this country are religious. The punishment for adultery in Islam is to hit by dorra in 100 times. On the other hand, the punishment for a married person is to throw stones into a more sinister form of killing. Adultery is adultery with the consent of both but without marriage. This is where the punishment is so severe. There, in a Muslim country, rape and child rape can be so upsetting. Before the Prophet Muhammad (PUH), blasphemous activities were prevalent in Arab countries. But the bad people of the dark ages of that time were turned into the best people of all time in the face of Islam.
With the implementation of Islamic law, it was possible to bring rape and adultery to zero quotas. While it is not possible to bring zero quotas into the present age, it is not difficult to reduce the rate of such heinous crime through the application of proper law. That is why marriage also needs to be made easy. Increasing the age of marriage by law is not a valid theory. Increasing external costs in marriage couldn`t be a good idea.
Human rights and women`s rights advocates and educators have been making many strong statements and insightful comments over the weeks on how to stop rape and abide by the rule of law. Together, these views of Bangladesh send a strong message: Sexual violence is unwarranted and human rights abuses that threaten the lives of individuals and the structure of society. Sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, is often viewed as an isolated incident. Numerous studies have shown that rape, like other forms of violence, is the result of gender discrimination and discrimination and the discriminatory relationship between women and men. We need a concerted effort to curb sexual and gender-based violence, including rape that engages in every level of society without a limited response to the individual.
Though, Bangladesh has taken many steps towards addressing sexual and gender-based violence. In November 2019, led by the UN and the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, more than 250 government and civil society experts, academics, Development Partners and survivor advocates came together to discuss root causes and effective measures to stop sexual and gender-based violence, including rape. From the robust discussion that took place, a set of 10 Actions Points to stand against rape emerged and were endorsed by 30 organizations from civil society, Development Partners and the UN. The exchanges in recent weeks urge all to double their efforts as the UN and Development Partners to transform those attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate gender-based discrimination and tolerate violence against women and girls. Globally, we have learned that we cannot address sexual and gender-based violence, including rape unless we achieve a proper and thorough understanding of the problem and correct the related narratives. Despite progress, there are still misconceptions and misleading information over the causes, effects and consequences of sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, which shape the way that we respond to the epidemic. Violence against women is a form and a manifestation of discrimination against women. This notion is crucial to effectively frame the issue and achieve social transformation. We must raise awareness that sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, cannot in any way be blamed on the victim or survivor. What is worrisome in today’s society, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, is how even in a court of law, where justice should be effectively delivered and survivors should find redress and protection, there is a focus on the modesty and honor of a woman to judge if a crime has been perpetrated. This double-victimization of a survivor, by publicly questioning her motives, is yet another human rights violation. In no way and no space should survivors be blamed, because of their behavior, how they are dressed, how they speak or where they walk? Too often a community’s response to sexual and gender-based violence is to stigmatize the survivors, rather than prosecute the perpetrator. Victim blaming and normalization of violence can be tackled by transforming social norms and the way women and men think and behave. To achieve this, we commit to further invest in primary prevention and explore new initiatives to make sure that under no circumstances violence is justifiable.
We will strengthen efforts to work with partners to identify and implement the most effective ways to stop violence before it even occurs. Successful, evaluated models from around the world tell us that prevention programs are most effective when multiple partners at different levels are engaging with individual, families, society and institutions all together.
For better understand what works to prevent violence against women, we will invest more in data and research and ensure that our initiatives and interventions are always corroborated by evidence. Too often, prevention programs are implemented without a robust research design or ways to effectively measure its impact; and those interventions that have been evaluated and considered successful are yet to reach a wide audience. We therefore commit to act as a bridge between research and academia and program implementers. Furthermore, we acknowledge our responsibility as the UN and Development Partners to ensure that our actions are well coordinated. National ownership and the leadership by the women’s movement are and will remain our guiding lights.
While we work on prevention, our immediate response to sexual violence needs to be robust by ensuring victims receive coherent support which includes medical support, psychosocial counseling, protection of victims/witnesses, legal assistance and expedition of legal cases. As challenging as it may be, we need to fight traditional gender roles and that place men in a dominant relationship to women. Gender roles that define what women and men should do are not biologically engrained but constructed through history and society. If we have taught ourselves to believe that men are the breadwinners, stronger and entitled to treat women as they please, we can unlearn these concepts and promote a more equal family and society. We all have the power and responsibility to change our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.
We need to indicate in the 10 Action Points, we will also support more age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education in schools and we will strengthen efforts to incorporate these programs in the national curriculum while at the same time encourage parents to stop treating sex as a taboo, and instead promote a culture of positive sexuality. Teaching children from a young age about sexuality will also help them to better understand the concept of sexual consent.
we will continue investing in women’s empowerment, the key to social transformation. Empowering women is about equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take control and agency of their own lives and be aware of their rights. An increasing number of empowered women will challenge the acceptability of violence and contribute to change in their families, communities as well as in the public domain. We will continue working and supporting the women’s movement, as the essential agent for transformational change in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence, including rape.
Basically the rule of law is very important. Need to rule of law implement must for reducing rape. If the perpetrators are predators, the criminals get acquainted, the society becomes defiled.