Women like Rowshan, mothers of autistic children who work hard and diligently to ensure moments of joy, success, and celebration for her child, could have received the assistance they need, if only the Dhaka District Committee for people with special needs were active
Rowshan Ara’s 17-year-old autistic daughter started throwing a tantrum when she came up from downstairs. Rowshan Ara that her daughter was having another autistic meltdown.
Little did she know, that it was a reaction to the sexual harassment she faced downstairs.
Rowshan works as a domestic help for a family in the city's Mohammadpur area. The landlord’s chauffeur took the opportunity to grope that helpless teenage girl with disability, although she somehow managed to push him back and escape the sexual predator.
"Later, I informed the landlord about the incident, the driver lied and pretended to be innocent. The ugly truth was exposed only when the CCTV footage was reviewed. The saddest part is that the sexual predator is still working for the landlord, and I am too, as I could not manage another job," said Rowshan.
She said the chauffeur still gives them lewd smiles and she lives in fear because her daughter might become his victim again.
Women like Rowshan - mothers of autistic children who work hard and diligently to ensure moments of joy, success, and celebration for her child - could have received the assistance they need, if only the Dhaka District Committee for people with special needs were active.
Society for Education & Inclusion of the Disabled (SEID) organized a human chain in front of the National Museum in Dhaka’s Shahbag intersection, and demanded that the Dhaka district committee be active.
Rawshan was also at the human chain, demanding protection for people with special needs and disabilities.
Ranjan Karmaker, chairman of SEID, told Dhaka Tribune: "A law was passed in 2013 to protect the rights of people with disability; however, six years into its enactment, not even a single committee meeting was held."
He said the committee should hold at least four meetings annually as per section 27(2) of the law.
The district committee is to be comprised of members from the parliament, officials of the Ministry of Social Welfare, deputy commissioners and deputy directors.
Karishma Ahmed, SEID program director, told Dhaka Tribune that the officials who are assigned for the committee meetings are not even aware of the law and their responsibilities.
She also said representatives from the people with disability can come to the meeting and put forth their concerns.
They also demanded proper implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2013, in order to curb violence and discrimination against women and children with disability.