The recent gang rape incident in Bangladesh’s Noakhali district has exposed the brutal atrocities and crime against women in the country.
Rights body Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) has said that at least 975 women were raped, including 208 subjected to gang rape, from January to September 30 this year in Bangladesh.
Of the victims, 45 were killed after rape and 12 others ended their lives. Besides, 161 women faced sexual harassment and 12 of them committed suicide during the same period.
The survivor of the gang rape in Noakhali was previously raped multiple times at gunpoint by prime accused Delwar Hossain, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) found after visiting the woman on Monday.
“Whenever the woman protested or resisted, she was threatened with gang rape by his whole team of ‘Delwar Bahini’,” said Al Mahmud Faizul Kabir, Director of investigation at NHRC.
According to ASK, three women and nine men were killed for protesting the sexual harassment harassments. Besides, 627 children were raped and 20 boys molested, while 21 women fell victims to acid attacks.
Former Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra, Sheepa Hafiza told IANS: “Rape, sexual harassment and violence against women are gradually increasing mainly for the culture of impunity and the state’s apathy to control it.”
She said the number of such acts has increased as the offenders have got an impression that they will go unpunished.
“I think the state is not considering the rape and sexual harassment as a serious crime. Politicians are not still saying they’re ashamed of such brutality and not assuring the victims of justice. The rapists are not properly punished by the 150-year-old law,” Hafiza observed.
Hafiza said police should change their attitude towards the victims of any rape and sexual harassment, and a women-friendly atmosphere needs to be ensured at police station.
The human rights activists said political parties always try to avoid their responsibility by expelling rapists from their parties and branding them as infiltrators.
NHRC representative told IANS that notorious Delwar not only sexually abused the victim over the year, but also felt that they were entitled to her body, as if she was property.
Officer-in-Charge Begumganj Model Police Station Harunur Rashid Chowdhury said he was not aware that the victim has been repeatedly raped by the accused.
“She did not tell me, nor did she tell the Magistrate on Monday, after the video footage went viral. I only learnt of this when NHRC told me,” he said.