POST TIME: 10 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Alarming rise in child rape

Alarming rise in 
child rape

Almost every day there are reports in the media of children being raped and often killed after being raped. Children are probably the most neglected members of society and hardly have any voice, even within the home. As a result, they are consistently becoming easy victims of all sorts of violence including rape and other forms of sexual abuse. According to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), a total of 496 children were raped in the first six months of this year and of them, 53 were gang-raped. Twenty-seven out of the 496 children were physically challenged while 23 children were killed after rape. Besides, 74 children were made victims of attempted rape in the last six months. This depicts a frightening picture. And the actual number of rapes could be much higher as many such incidents remain unreported.

When thousands of children are being raped and abused every year, we can no longer pretend that this is not a systemic or societal issue. This society is undergoing a phase of serious moral degradation. But it is not only that; the culture of impunity that has been established over the years—where rapists escaped justice because they were connected to influential quarters—is another reason why criminals commit such egregious crimes without a second thought, believing that they too will not be punished. That law enforcers and other concerned authorities often fail to give full support to the victims—refusing to file rape cases, for instance—doesn’t help either.

In Bangladesh a large number of children are deprived of their basic human rights due to unacceptable health, nutrition and education as well as social conditions. In addition, children are exposed to severe forms of physical and mental violence at home, in the work place, in institutions and other public places. The nature and extent of violence against children irrespective of age, sex and class has been increasing day by day. On the whole, our children are not safe.

When the rule of law is inadequate, perpetrators remain unaffected, especially when the authorities concerned respond in a way that does not protect the underprivileged victims. Stricter laws and more vigorous enforcement might help, but they are not enough. It is time for the government to adopt tough legal measures to prosecute child sexual abuse cases so that we are able to protect our future generations.