Sustained social resistance against sexual violence also called for
THE horrific incident, in which a 14-year-old girl at Madhupur in Tangail fell victim to gang-rape, that too, for three days in a row, is for sure a pointer to the rise in sexual violence against women and girls in recent times. It also points to the fact that the male-dominated society we are in has apparently resigned to taking such monstrosities for granted as even its conscious sections failed to rise up weeks after the horrendous incident took place even though they spoke, and rightly so, highly of the raging public protest against almost a similar incident in Delhi in India. According to a New Age report on Thursday, quoting the victim’s mother, she was invited by another girl, close to her, to a wedding ceremony on December 7 from where she was taken to a house in the nearby forest. On December 10, she was found unconscious and, on the following day, admitted to Tangail General Hospital. With her condition deteriorating, she was shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Tuesday noon. Meanwhile, the unfathomable pain and horror that the victim had to endure has left her severely traumatised which is, perhaps, why she is now mentally so unstable that the coordinator of the One-stop Crisis Centre at the DMCH deems it ‘very difficult to cure her’.
Encouragingly, five suspects, along with the alleged abettor of the heinous incident, have already been arrested. However, no one can rest assured that the perpetrators will be meted out any deterrent punishment. The country has a law that stipulates even capital punishment for perpetrators of crimes like rape. But, unfortunately, there have been very few cases so far in which the rapists have received such punishment. Worse even, reports have it that most of the criminals involved in such gruesome incidents have gone scot free since the law was enacted, either for procedural weakness in the cases lodged against them or for loopholes in the law. We expect that the government will address these issues to ensure exemplary punishment for the perpetrators at hand.
However, only legal measures will hardly prove effective to rein in crimes such as sexual assault. Social and cultural resistance against the perpetrators of sexual violence is also crucial for ridding the society of the malaise altogether.
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