The social taboo that comes with being a victim of abuse needs to go.
In Bangladesh, as common as reports of violence against women are, most of them go unreported, the crimes unpunished.
To such an extent has this become a problem that we cannot sit back, bury our heads in the sand, and continue to deem these as isolated incidents.
The atrocities committed against Khadiza, Risha, Nitu, and Rani give very human faces to the grim statistics. Thousands of women are victimised every year, whether in the form of rape, acid burnings, domestic violence. The worst of these result in death.
Recently, four more girls were stabbed or hacked in separate incidents. And on Thursday, a 32-year-old imam was jailed for repeatedly harassing a school-girl for marriage.
Almost all of these incidents came at the hands of male stalkers who were unable to grasp the fact that no means no.
The frequency with which these sorts of incidents continue to take place serves as a poor reflection of our society.
It is high time that Bangladeshi society takes a long, hard look at itself. There is only so much the authorities can do when there are people in our society who do not understand that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable, and continue to blame the victim for these crimes.
This pervasive attitude is retrograde, shameful, and unacceptable.
Savagery of this kind would not persist if there was not so much impunity afforded to perpetrators of sexual harassment, and the subsequent stigma attached to the victims.
This is the kind of thinking that must be rooted out of our society. It is high time we learn to do a better job of protecting half of our population.