FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Violence against women: Bangladesh needs change in societal mindset
Posted:Apr 20, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Amity Saha
 
Violence against Women (VAW) is the most palpable gender-specific violation of human rights. This is a form of discrimination against women. It enforces women`s subordination and patriarchal structures throughout all levels of society, leading to issues such as the undervaluation of women`s economic contributions. VAW is not only rooted in gender norms; the society’s gender norms are also constructed through VAW.
 
The low status of women -- economically, socially, culturally and politically -- both constitutes and enables the further denial of human rights in gender-specific ways, often at the hands of family members, male and female” (Reilly, 2009, p.78). Thus, VAW both reflects and determines gendered social structures (McMillan, 2007). That is why it is required to take immediate action to challenge the economic, social and cultural marginalisation of women in Bangladesh.
 
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world and its estimated prevalence rate of violence against women is extremely high which, in turn, is “an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace”. Due to a lack of reliable base-line surveys, the exact number of women affected by violence is unknown (CEDAW/C/BGD/Q/7). However, non-governmental organisation (NGO) reports indicate that Bangladesh has one of the highest rate globally despite advancements of women`s rights and a strong history of women’s movements. Deeply embedded in cultural and socio-economic practices, violence against women is sanctioned by both society and the state, in the name of culture and tradition as well as in the name of religion.
 
Bangladesh has a high prevalence of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence and child marriage. According to a UNFPA/Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics study, more than 10 million Bangladeshi women experience physical or sexual violence every year. The Report on Violence against Women (VAW) Survey 2015 by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has found that 50 percent of the women said they were physically tortured while 27 percent said they had been sexually abused.
 
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) study was based on interviews of 21,688 women between August 13 and 22 last year. In comparison with the figures of 2011, the rate of sexual abuse of married women decreased, but in cases of physical torture, it had increased. The study found that in 15 per cent of the cases men abused their wives in efforts to control their behaviour.
 
* Women aged between 15 and 34 are at the greatest threat of facing torture. 51.8 percent of rural women said they had been abused. The rate is 48.5 and 49.6 per cent at the urban and national levels respectively.
 
* Little difference was found between the ratios of economic exploitation faced by rural and urban married women.  In the case of rural women it was 12 per cent while in urban areas it was 10.2 per cent.
 
* The study shows that the tendency of abusing wives is found less among educated couples.
 
Many women in Bangladesh fail to report violence committed against them because there is a burly stigma surrounding rape, abuse, and domestic violence in the country. The police are also likely to blame the victim and favour the abuser. From 2010 to 2012, the Bangladeshi police received 109,621 complaints about violence against women. However, the police determined that only 6,875 of these complaints were ‘genuine’ and should be further investigated. The Inspector General of Police responsible for investigating crimes involving violence against women told the Inter Press Service news agency that “On many occasions . . .  the law was used to harass the accused. It does seem that not all complaints are genuine”.
 
Most of the women do not get the justice they deserve in Bangladeshi society still; because of stigma surrounding violence against women. In 2011, there were 420 recorded cases of rape in Bangladesh, and only 286 reached the prosecution stage.
 
There are also specific laws which have been instituted by the Bangladesh government in an effort to prevent violence against women. Some of these laws include the 2010 Domestic Violence Act and the 2000 Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act.
 
The 2010 Domestic Violence Act criminalises domestic violence. This was a landmark act because many Bangladeshi women face cruelty by their husbands. A 2007 report stated that 53 per cent of married women in Bangladesh were physically and/or sexually abused by their husbands. If the court deems that domestic violence is likely to occur, it can either relocate the victim to a shelter or throw out the perpetrator of the violence.
 
The Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act was passed in 2000 and makes clear that there will be harsh punishment for those convicted for committing violent crimes. The law targets rape, trafficking, and kidnapping.
 
We know that legislation is an important step towards ending violence against women in Bangladesh. But in order for significant change to occur, societal mindset must transform in order to end the stigma and victim-blaming that women face when they report violence carried out against them.
 
(Amity Saha is a Research Assistant (International Affairs) at Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA). Comments and suggestions on this article can be sent to editor@spsindia.in)
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Morocco go back a millennium with the first recorded links dating to the 14th century, when the famous traveller and writer from Tangier, Ibn Batuta, travelled to India.
 
read-more
Stepping up action against terrorists attacking India, President Donald Trump's Administration has declared Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) a “global terrorist organisation” in an attempt to choke off financial and other support to it.
 
read-more
On 14 August 1947 Pakistan, consisting of East and West Pakistan, celebrated its independence. The 14th was chosen for the ceremony because Lord Mountbatten who came to Karachi as the Chief Guest had to later leave for Delhi where ot the midnight stroke India was to declare its independence.
 
read-more
The Doklam stand-off and a variety recent opinion pieces in magazines and newspapers draws attention to the poor state of defence policy preparedness and the lack of meaningful higher defence control in India. 
 
read-more
The two ideologically divergent ruling partners - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - in Jammu and Kashmir are headed for a showdown as the debate over the abrogation of Article 35A of the Constitution of India heats up.
 
read-more
At the root of the present Doklam crisis is China’s intrusion into Bhutanese territory for its road building projects. These connectivity projects are integral to President Xi Jinping’s dream project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India and Bhutan were the only two countries that did not participate in the first forum
 
read-more
It wasn’t so long ago that the whole world watched as Donald Trump sashayed on to the Riyadh red carpet and stole the show with his tough talk on Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
 
read-more
A vehicular attack to maximise casualties and spread panic is now a well-tested terrorist strategy in European cities.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Column-image

Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive