Humane First Movement, a collaboration partner of the Bangladesh Workgroup at The Hague Peace Projects, recently started its campaign on the prevention of sexual violence. Md. Sayem Hossain, volunteer of the movement shares his thoughts on the campaign:
Humane First Movement is running its current campaign on the prevention of rape and sexual violence against women, and I would like to share my personal views as a committed supporter of this movement.
Rape is a curse to any civilized society and social disease of the highest order. If we claim to be civilized individuals, then we must also acknowledge that this curse is widespread in our society today. However, are we realizing the depth of the problem? Often when an incident of rape happens, society looks for ways to justify the incident, indirectly siding with the rapist by pointing out the victim’s dress style, behavior, personal issues, lifestyle, etc. Is this the behaviour of civilized human beings? In our society, socially powerful rapists are eventually released, and roam freely only to commit more rapes. On the other hand, rape victims are outcasted and ostracized by society. In some cases the victim is unable to cope with the ensuing insults and social harassment and commits suicide, leaving behind family members with no other choice but to helplessly shed tears and long for divine justice. This is because the state often fails in ensuring justice, or the legal procedure is so slow that the victims and their families often lose hope of receiving it. We have witnessed how little Ayesha Moni’s mother was the lone warrior in this fight for justice. Can we really call ourselves civilized in a society where people have to resort to widespread protests every time to seek justice for rape crimes?
I would also like to share my frustration about another aspect; we shy away from calling out on a rape incident if the victim is a boy or a man. Why do we have such a narrow mindset? Rape is always rape, no matter to whom it or where it happens.
We need to remember one thing- when we overlook a crime or justify it in many ways, then we are not safe from that crime. In a society where records are not set straight through exemplary punishments for heinous crimes, it encourages the frequent repetition of these crimes. This is something that is now evident in our society as rape incidents are becoming a regular phenomenon.
If you belong to the powerful section of society, you may assume that you are free from danger. But you need to remember that your power and privileges may not last forever. Today your family might be safe, but do you have any guarantee for the future? So please be aware. When you make your closest ones aware, then they will do the same, and in this way we can spread awareness in our society.
If you raise your voice against an incident of sexual violence/abuse in the street, or in the workplace or an educational institute, you will see that others will also raise their voice. Please teach your children how to differentiate between “good touch” and “bad touch”. Be the safe space for your children so that they can share if something unwanted happens to them.
So let us begin with changing ourselves. Let us put an end to rape and all forms of sexual violence and abuse. We do not want to see more sufferers.
Let us begin now!
Note: Bengali version of this article was published by Sangbad24. Bangladesh team-HPP obtained permission to publish the translated version.