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22 January, 2021 10:48:06 PM

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The traumatic aftermath of every prevalent rape case in Bangladesh

Instead of pointing fingers at the victim, perhaps these people better learn to react as any sane person would: to show sympathy towards the victim and rage towards the rapist.
Gulrukh M Feema
The traumatic aftermath of every prevalent rape case in Bangladesh

Unless you live under a rock, I am quite sure that you are familiar with the Dihan rape case which gave a shudder to even the most strong hearted ones among us. In recent months, rape has been on the rise and we have witnessed powerful protests from all walks of life only to see it halt after a law was passed which ensured that death penalty will be given to the predators if found guilty.

As flawed as that decision maybe considering that the law itself which determines the definition of rape is more than 150 years old and in a lot of cases helps elude justice to victims of sexual harassment, I want to focus on an equally important issue today and that is the effect these crimes have on the youth.

It was about midnight when I learnt about the Dihan rape case and nothing could have prepared me for it. I read newspapers everyday and I seldom pass a day without coming across a news coverage of rape happening in different parts of our country. And yet the lapse of seeing such atrocities being committed on a daily basis for years hardly served to weaken the scarring effect on me. Somehow these crimes have ingrained a deep fear in me that ends with the same question over and over again, “What if it was me?”. The circumstances in which the victim found herself, was painfully ordinary to begin with. She simply trusted the perpetrator and this sick, disgusting animal took advantage of it. And yet society had already ruled out the verdict and chose to vilify the victim, the poor innocent girl who lost her life and not the rapist.

Aside from my own deeply rooted fears of simply being a woman who is potentially at risk to trust any men at all (thanks to the pervasive sexual crimes committed against women), I am heavily disturbed at how these crimes are generally perceived. I read a fair amount of comments under a video of a news channel that covered the Dihan rape case and majority of these comments were questioning the character of the victim. “Why was she with a boy at his house all alone?”, “As a girl from a Muslim family, she should have known better”, “This is what happens when parents give their children too much freedom”. These are all just a fraction of the appalling comments that were there and just really go to show why rapists like Dihan gets away with their outrageously horrific crimes. Instead of pointing fingers at the victim, perhaps these people better learn to react as any sane person would: to show sympathy towards the victim and rage towards the rapist.

Tangible consequences of such events include stricter curfew for females, not letting any female go anywhere unchaperoned, making sure females dress ‘appropriately’ and what not. Ironically, none of it applies to any male, even when the perpetrator was a male himself. Before you bombard me with the ‘but not all male’ phrase, try to understand the fact that it is women who have to face the wrath from their own families and society to follow these maddening so called rules.

But it is not only women who face the indignation. Oh no, men also find themselves in an awkward situation. I was in a conversation with a guy friend of mine about this Dihan rape case and when he explained to me how he felt, suddenly light was shed to an alley which I didn’t even consider before. He described that it is not only difficult but also now frighteningly embarrassing for him to put his female friends at ease in his presence plainly because these wrongdoers are mostly men. I realized that in the passage of figuring out who to point fingers at, the crimes have been generalized to being gender based. We don’t see the enormity of these crimes as inhumane anymore, just a petty debate on which gender is to be blamed.

The writer is a contributor.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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