Violence against women (VAW) is one of the most predominant and tenacious human rights violations in the world. It has been a serious social, cultural and economic problem in Bangladesh, where nearly two out of three women have experienced gender-based violence during their lifetime.
Violence against women (VAW) is no more confined to a specific culture, region or country, or to particular groups of women within a society. Global data shows that one in three – 35 – percent of women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifespan. Bangladesh is no exception. In recent times, the country has seen an alarming rise in child rape, sexual assaults and incidents of violence against women. Daily news reports are filled with bone-chilling, gruesome tales of violence against women unheard of even a few decades ago.
Violence against women and girls takes many different forms, including battering, stalking, rape, sexual assault and harassment, child marriage, sex trafficking, domestic violence, etc. Evidence from different studies suggests violent acts against women and girls are not always committed by strangers or in strange places. Most cases of sexual abuse are perpetrated by family members or persons known to the family, such as husbands, boyfriends, neighbors, teachers, employers, religious leaders, etc. and take place in all spheres of life. If we are to find ways to reduce violence against women and girls, then we will need a much better understanding of what causes it. Specifically, we need to know why so many men batter and sexually abuse women, and what corrective measures can be taken to reduce this tendency.
ADRA in Bangladesh has been maneuvering widespread programs in terms of empowering women. ADRA organizes a wide range of activities to raise public awareness of violence against women including rally, seminar, group discussion, stage drama, etc.
The prevailing attitudes that permit and encourage male violence must be directly and creatively addressed. We must empower women and girls by teaching them how to protect themselves. We must also teach our boys how to respect girls and women and consider them as equals. Both men and women must come forward and raise their voice to change this culture of violence against women.