Saturday, December 14, 2019 | ePaper

Consider socio-economic factors to rein child abuse

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As part of remedial steps against increasing number of children falling victims to rape and sexual harassment, Manusher Jonno Foundation and its 120 partner organisations are planning to form a "Child Protection Committee".  The motto of such planning is to raise awareness about sexual harassment of children, and extend legal support to victims and their families.
As per media reports, about 233 children, including six boys, have been raped in the last five months. Of them, 12 girls have died after rape. Another 35 have fallen victim to sexual harassment, according to data gathered by the MJF. Last year, 356 children were raped and 22 of them died.
The reasons for the gradual degradation of the social fabric might be linked to drug abuse, access to technology like smartphones and internet at an early age, pornography and the overall low status of women in our country. In most of the nations like Bangladesh, male children are given prominence over female ones. Part of this is due to the fact that female children are seen as economically unable to sustain their parents in their old age.
Thus the notion of girls being inferior is taught at a very early age by families --- the boy child is coddled and given more food and freedom while the girl child is taught to be forbearing. That's why two thirds of women in Bangladesh, around 66%, have been victims of domestic violence - and 72.7% of them have never disclosed their experiences to others, according to a study.
 Only 2.1% of women inform local leaders of their experience, while 1.1% of women seek help from the police. Four out of every five cases, brought before the court by women, are related to violence --- and the majority is related to dowry.
It is not expected that a month long awareness programs will have any positive effect on the fundamental asymmetrical social imbalance between the genders. It is not also obvious whether formation of committee will bring any good for women. The irregularities which exist will not disappear overnight as deep-rooted socio-economic factors lie behind it.

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