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MJF: 4,249 women subjected to domestic violence during the lockdown

  • Published at 03:30 pm May 6th, 2020
Violence against women
Representational photo: Bigstock

At least 92% of the children, subject to domestic violence, were tortured by their family members or relatives

Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) has said 4,249 women and 456 children were subjected to domestic violence in 27 selected districts of Bangladesh amid the lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic.

Of them, 1,672 women and 424 children endured the violence for the first time during this lockdown.

The survey statistics were unfolded by MJF Violence Against Women (VAW) Co-coordinator Arpita Das during an online press conference on Wednesday.

Of the total 64 districts, women and children of 27 selected districts and four city corporations were interviewed over phone by 24 associate organizations of MJF during the whole month of April.

Around 17,203 women took part in the survey, where 848 of the women were assaulted physically, 2,008 mentally, 85 sexually, and 1,308 financially by their husbands.

Moreover, four women were raped, one killed, and 20 others sexually assaulted, as per the survey.

Arpita Das said: “Victims were not even eager to talk about the violence as they were afraid of being re-victimized. Some were even threatened for talking over the phone (about violence).”

Most children tortured by families

At least 92% of the children, out of the 456, were tortured by their family members or relatives. 

Of them, 424 were subjected to domestic violence, while 33 children were married off.

Shockingly, 10 children were raped while taking relief, and four more were raped, 16 faced rape attempts, two were kidnapped, and 10 endured sexual assault, according to the survey.

Besides, MJF has also analyzed the newspaper report, from March 25 to April 27, on violence against children, said Rafeza Shaheen, coordinator of the Child Protection Unit of MJF.

At least 35 children were raped, seven gang-raped, five faced rape attempts and three committed suicide across the country, as per the reports.

Besides, one 10-year-old child in Bhola committed suicide due to hunger during the lockdown.

Rafeza Shaheen said usually 90% of the children are raped by family members or relatives, and the rest 10% by school teachers and other people.

“During the lockdown, people living in a community are still communicating with each other. Besides, family members and relatives have access to the family and children who do not usually go outside their homes,” she said about the cause of children being raped.

“(Besides), poverty, scarcity, and due to other issues, the torture generally comes upon the children and the women,” she said about the torture during lockdown.

Family amities not as strong as expected

During the lockdown, it cannot be said that the family amities were strong, said Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF).

“Poverty is also an issue (for violence). However, we want to say, why the impact should be upon women,” she added.

When asked if the women were sexually harassed by their husbands only, she said: “The married women do not want to share about their sexual torture. They just confessed that they were subject to violence, they could not tell how.”

When asked if the violence scaled up, the executive director said: “In normal time, domestic violence is usually not reported. So it can not be said that it has increased.”

The panelist also said that women do not want to speak about domestic violence for maintaining peace at home.