Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) published the findings of the survey, Violence Against Women Survey 2015, at a programme held at the National Economic Council auditorium in Dhaka on Sunday.
According to the survey, the abuse rate has decreased comparing to the previous survey conducted in 2011. In that year, the abuse rate was 87.1% which this year stands at 80.2%.
Presided by BBS Director General Mohammad Abdul Wazed, the event was attended by Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal as chief guest, as well as State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki, UNFPA country representative Argentina Matavel Piccin, and European Union Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon, among others.
Around 72.6% of married women in Bangladesh experience one or more such forms of violence at the hands of their husbands at least once during their married life, says the survey report presented by Zahidul Hoque Sarder, director of census wing of BBS.
They are victims of intimate-partner violence, which is defined as violent acts by a former or current spouse.
In case of women having lifelong marriage, controlling behaviour is the most common form of violence inflicted on them. Around 55.4% of lifelong-married women have been subjected to such violence while 49.6% of lifelong married women have suffered physical violence, 28.7% emotional violence, 27.2% sexual violence, and 11.4% financial violence.
The survey was funded by United Nations Population Fund. The first survey on violence against women was prepared in 2011. The BBS prepared the 2015 survey by interviewing 21,688 women aged 15 and above. Among the interviewees, 19,987 have been married at one point in their lives, and 1,701 have never been married.
Around 72.7% of the victims shared their experiences with their neighbours, said the survey.
The survey further stated that 34.2% of girls aged 10-14 years have been raped at least once. The rate for the age group of 15-19 years is 39.7%.
The survey also shows, of the victims, only 2.6% women in national level – 2.4% in rural and 3.3% in urban areas – have taken legal action. Although there is a government helpline to hear such kind of violence against women, only 2.4% women in national level, 1.9% in rural and 3.8% in urban areas knows about it.
Addressing the occasion, UNFPA county representative to Bangladesh Argentina Matavel Piccin, said, “We have to understand that wives are not slave and it is an issue to fight back on such violence together. It’s time to have a national action against this issue rather than remaining silent.”
The survey measured five forms of violence – physical, sexual, emotional, financial and controlling behaviour – based on the United Nations Statistics Division standards.
The survey showed that lifelong partner violence rates (any form) were highest in rural areas (74.8% lifelong married women) while it was far lower in city corporation areas (54.4%). The rate stands at 71.1% in urban areas outside the city corporations.
At the programme, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Chumki, said the state of violence is still not good but the good thing is it has started decreasing as comparing to the 2011 survey findings. In 2011, we found violence rate against women was 87.1% but in 2015 it stands at 80.2%.
“The government is determined to stop the practice and many steps have already been taken including setting up victim support center, helpline, adopting policy, education system and mobile application. We are hopeful that reducing the rate of violence against women drastically, we would be able to make a better future for all soon.” she said.
Addressing the occasion as chief guest, Planning Minister AHM Kamal said violence against women is not a local problem only; rather it is a worldwide problem. It can’t be stop completely but the rate of violence can be reduced.