Friday, July 19, 2019 | ePaper

Protect the girls from rapists

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'GIRLS in developing countries must be protected from sexual violence in and around schools', said the head of the UN's children fund urging the governments to make it a top priority. On the sidelines of a G7 ministerial summit in Paris, UNICEF Chief Henrietta Fore said keeping young girls safe was crucial to ensure their education. "We have a real responsibility to keep violence out of schools ... by other students but also by their teachers," she told AFP in an interview last week. But sexual assault and violence are also affecting girls on way to their schools and when they return home, she said.
"In some countries in Africa, like South Africa where some girls…(suffered) sexual violence on their way to and from school," she said. "And it is not an isolated phenomenon, with Human Rights Watch last year that flagged up "high levels of sexual and gender-based violence" in Senegal. Teachers were coercing girls into sex for money, gifts or good grades there".  In 2015, the UN set targets aimed at ensuring equal opportunities and ending violence against women and girls by 2030, but last month, gender equality charity "Equal Measures 2030" said it was "failing to deliver".
What we see that the statements of UNICEF Chief Henrietta Fore about the condition of ill-fated girls of African countries is very similar and realistic even in Bangladesh. According to media reports, the incident of violence against women, particularly rape, has increased significantly in the recent months comparing to that of the previous year. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad on Tuesday said about 942 women were raped from January to December last year. But within the last six months of the current year (January to June), the number of rape incident reached 731. More than 276 women were murdered in the last six months, while 117 physically assaulted and 63 were abducted.
Rape, gang rape and murder after rape have become too common nowadays. In Dhaka city's Banogram area, a seven-year-old baby girl was raped and brutally murdered a couple of days ago. The scenario is more painful in other parts of the country where each and every day girls are being raped. We think, except proper execution of law this will not stop.


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