The argument that rape occurs when women dress provocatively falls flat on its face in light of the exceedingly high number of child rapes which go on in Bangladesh, far outnumbering cases of adult rape.
According to One Stop Crisis Centre (OCC) records, the average age of the victims is between five and 12; 66% of rape survivors treated at the clinics are children. And the perpetrators are almost always known to their families – uncles, neighbours, teachers, etc -- but families are reluctant to prosecute because of social stigma.
The reasons rape is so prominent, especially amongst children, are multifarious. Perpetrators know victims are usually too scared to speak out and, even if they do, society will try its best to brush the incident under the rug.
It is also indicative of the deeply entrenched cultural values we exhibit when it comes to sex, an inevitable outcome of a sexually repressive society.
All of this should sting our conscience because we are complicit in giving credence to the social views and values that perpetuate such horrors. Even when we do not personally subscribe to those views, we give them legitimacy because we do not speak out against them.
This should shame us all.
Although Bangladesh has made enormous progress in terms of economic development, have we done so at the expense of social and cultural progress?
We, as part of Bangladeshi society, need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realise how low we have fallen as a nation, one that is so devoid of morality that it allows an act as horrendous as that of child rape to continue to take place.
When rape is so common, or chalked up as something that is acceptable, we, as a society, must re-evaluate our views on sex, rape, and manhood.