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15 June, 2021 11:52:18 PM
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Domineering mindset amplifies women’s sufferings

Empowerment of women in rural areas of the country is considered as a reason for deprivation of power of men and this erroneous and bizarre idea of theirs is constantly increasing the violence against women.
Majhar Mannan
Domineering mindset amplifies women’s sufferings

Bangladesh has shown a unique success in empowering women in the world but due to the authoritarian mentality of men, violence against women is still not decreasing in Bangladesh. According to the World Health Organization, 50 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 in the country have been abused at some point in their lives by their husbands or partners. According to the World Health Organization, one in three women in the world has been abused in a lifetime. Many experts have blamed the authoritarian mentality of men for the high rate of violence against women in Bangladesh. According to the survey, violence against women has increased during Covid-19 period.  During the period, 23 percent of women in the country were tortured. The family is a safe haven and a haven of peace but a survey says 77% of violence against women in the country is within the family. In most cases, the wife is abused by the husband and there are different types of abuse. They are: 1. To insult and neglect wife, 2. Not being allowed to go out of the house, 3. Using derogatory words, 4. Having sexual relations against the will of the wife, 5. Physically abusing, 6.  Threatening to divorce, 6. Threatening to remarry, 7.  Constant pressure on the wife for dowry, 8. Not giving the necessary maintenance to the wife, 9. Controlling the wife's freedom of speech, 10. To mock the beauty of the wife, 11.  Using  extremely vulgar and abusive language and verbal violence, 12. Husband's philandering, 13. Suspicion to wife, 14. Threat to stop education after marriage, 15. All decisions taken by the husband, 16. Polygamy of the husband, 17. Returning home from the office late and taking drugs, 18. Not giving time to the wife and censuring her all the time. 19. To rebuke the wife for giving birth to a daughter 20. Blaming the wife exclusively for not having children.

According to a BRAC research report, about 32 percent of dowry-related violence against women occurs in the country. Women are often tortured for trivial and insignificant reasons that are not appropriate at all. Many men are conservative and cannot easily accept the empowerment of women. Empowerment of women in rural areas of the country is considered as a reason for deprivation of power of men and this erroneous and bizarre idea of ​​theirs is constantly increasing the violence against women. There is a misconception among many men that if women are empowered then men will lose their authority and women will disobey them. The rate of female education has increased in the country and women's employment has increased but the rate of violence against women is not decreasing. Many men suffer from inferiority in women's empowerment and they think it will be difficult for them to control their wives so they continue to oppress their wives. The divorce rate is also on the rise due to wife abuse, with an average of 1200 divorces per month, and one divorce petition being filed every hour in the capital. Millions of women are silently and secretly enduring all this domestic violence but where is their liberation from it?

It is generally believed that women are safe at home and outside they are abused but a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2011 gave different picture of wife torture.  87.6 percent of women are directly or indirectly abused by their husbands. Of these, 81.2% are victims of mental abuse, 53.2% are victims of economic exploitation, 35.5% are victims of sexual abuse and 64.6% are victims of physical abuse. Although there are several laws against violence against women in the country, they are not properly enforced. Women also do not get the favorable environment they need to seek legal redress and have to face social and familial stigma when seeking justice. Violence against women at home is a crime and there is no reason to consider it a personal issue. Society and the state must take strong action to address it.

In rural areas, arbitration meetings are held in the name of resolving such domestic violence and there is a tendency to avoid crime in the name of so-called arbitration and attempts are made to protect the perpetrator. On the contrary, sometimes the victimized women are the victims of the so-called fatwa. Many wives are abused by their husbands at home but not all news is published so the state must take an effective role by conducting a proper survey. If women are abused or threatened anywhere, they can get immediate redress by calling 999. But many women do not do so even though they are extreme victims of abuse, only for fear that their marital life will be broken. In order to stop the abuse of women at home, the flaws in our society must be rectified first. From a young age and from the family, a deep-rooted notion is created in women that they are weaker than men. Different laws have been enacted in the country at different times to prevent violence against women. They are The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, Amendment 2016,  Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961, The Dowry Prohibition Act 1980, The  Family Courts  Ordinance 1985, The Prevention of  Women  & Children Repression Act 2000, and Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010. Despite having so many laws to suppress violence against women, violence against women is not decreasing because this has sore spread to the depths of society and the solution will not come if its roots cannot be uprooted. According to a special UN report, 60% of married women in Bangladesh are directly or indirectly abused by their husbands at some point in their lives. The World Health Organization released a report on 9 March 2021 on violence against women on behalf of various UN agencies.  According to the report of the World Health Organization, Bangladesh is on the list of the countries in the world which have the highest rate of wife abuse by husbands. It is really difficult to stop such domestic violence just by enforcing the law. This requires a comprehensive plan. The first thing that needs to be done to stop wife abuse is to drastically change the authoritarian mentality of men and ensure women's education and strict enforcement of the law. There are various misconceptions about women's rights and empowerment in society and these misinterpretations must be eliminated. The tendency to harass women in the name of so-called rural arbitration must be stopped. From an early age, children, adolescents and young people need to develop the idea that men and women are counterparts each other and men and women have equal rights. Children and adolescents need to be taught from an early age that taking and giving dowry is a social crime and is a heinous act and punishable by law. The education about the responsibility and obligation of the husband towards the wife should be widely disseminated among the youth. Schools and colleges must have an education on how to keep family ties beautiful and strong. No deep wound in society can be healed overnight, so time and proper planning are needed. More information on how to make family ties much stronger and more beautiful can be added to the education curriculum. When the husband abuses the wife, the children see it and it has a negative effect on them. Therefore, other steps need to be taken at this moment, including enforcing the law to stop wife abuse, as well as raising social awareness. 

The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola, Dhaka Cantonment.

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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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