Rape trend in Bangladesh

Rape is an unlawful sexual activity typically forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will. It is estimated that approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced sexual harassment in their life, according to World Population Review data of “Rape Statistics by Country 2020.” However, some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to data from the United Nations. Less than 40% of women who experience sexual violence seek help and less than 10% seek assistance from law enforcement, according to data available on rape in most of the countries.

The recent series of rapes amid the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked widespread controversy across Bangladesh. A total of 632 rape incidents took place between April and August this year, according to statistics compiled by the human rights organization Ain o Salish Kendra from various media reports. It means on average, four women have been raped every day in the last five months of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, there have been 142 incidents of attempted rape during the same time frame. At least 29 people died and five committed suicide after being raped.

According to Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), 184 rape cases have been recorded in the last five months in the Dhaka Metropolitan area. Of them, 12 rape cases were filed on April, 15 in May, 46 in June, 53 in July, and 58 in August. The surge in rape cases every month is evident.

If we have a glance at the rape statistics of our neighboring countries;.The number of rape incidents in India in per 100,000 citizens is 22,172 as of 2020, according to World Population Review data. India recorded an average of 87 rape cases daily in 2019. While in Pakistan, the NGO Sahil reported 3,832 cases of child abuse in 2018 which is an 11 percent increase from 2017 (3,445 cases).

According to section 375 of Bangladesh  Penal code 1860, A man is said to commit “rape” who except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions: Firstly.- Against her will.Secondly.- Without her consent.Thirdly.- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death, or of hurt.Fourthly.- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.Fifthly.- With or without her consent, when she is under fourteen years of age. However, the rise in Rape incidents followed by protests has led the Bangladesh Government to amend the Rape law and enhance the severity of punishment extending from life imprisonment to capital punishment.

On 21 August 2019, the Bangladeshi High Court argued that the rise in cases of sexual assault and rape in Bangladesh is partly due to delayed enforcement and punishment for rape cases. Although this may be a significant contributor, there must be something more profound that drives rapists to commit this heinous crime. For instance, in Bangladesh, the psychology of the rapist can be regarded as the prime cause of rape.

In addition, the weak criminal justice system, substance abuse, and unemployment may well be blamed for the spike of this notorious crime. Some of the other reasons contributing to rape and sexual assaults in Bangladesh are the lack of adequate education and leisure practices. A history of impunity “is largely to blame for the country’s rise in sexual violence.” In Bangladesh, we have stringent regulations, but no enforcement. In only around 4 percent of cases, justice is delivered. A pervasive system of impunity persists. That is why, every day, rape claims are rising tremendously.

Women are treated as mere objects to fulfill the sexual appetite of a man. A woman isn’t considered human anymore. They don’t have any consciousness, they are just bodies that ought to submit to the need of a man. As a major contributing factor to the prevailing views on women, pornography, the showing of inappropriate content in the cinema and the over-spreading of computational participation may also be listed. The ignorance of religious laws, social values, and conventional lifestyles is another big trigger responsible for growing rape in Bangladesh. They forget that even if one must “think internationally,” one should “act locally” as well.

it is important to evaluate the effects of violence against a woman as either physically, psychologically, or emotionally painful. Physical consequences entail unintended births, infections or physical ailments, and certain alterations to the normal functions of the woman’s body. Psychological impact, on the other hand, varies from self-pity to the most striking suicidal thoughts. The rape will trigger the emotions or impulses to attempt suicide within a  victim. Victims of rape sometimes believe like there is no more hope and that they can no longer recover and that they are not deserving of life because of abuse, self-pity, and seclusion.

Rape survivors  are often not accepted in the society and must endure a “second assault” in the form of negative reactions, such as victim blaming and disbelief from the society.Some girls never return to school after rape because of stigma and humiliation and often due to lack of support to continue their education.  Governments, donors, and service providers should commit to improving access to education so girls who suffer sexual or other gender-based violence in conflict are not further victimized.They should facilitate the return of girls to school and workplace by offering educational, psychosocial and socioeconomic assistance and countering the stigmatization of survivors of rape.

The young generation have a major role to play in eliminating the social stigmatization of rape victims and to assist them to reintregate in the society for leading a normal life. The change in society is possible only if the young generation of our country always remain vocal about all forms of injustice and discriminations.