The retrograde mindset that causes parents to favour boys over girls can do a lot of harm
Nothing in this world is quite so abhorrent as the sexual abuse of children.
A recent report from Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum shows that there has been a rise in child sexual abuse in recent years -- last year, 593 children were raped, a jump of a third from the previous year, and the true statistic may well be higher.
A roundtable recently held -- jointly hosted by the Dhaka Tribune and World Vision Bangladesh -- shed light on the grim state of things when it comes to protecting young girls in Bangladesh, as well as possible solutions to the problems.
How can we bring about an end to gender-based violence against girls?
First, a comprehensive legal framework and set of policies are required, but that will mean nothing without adequate monitoring and enforcement.
Investments must be made to empower girls -- this means focusing on education, health, life skills, and resilience; this goes hand in hand with implementing comprehensive education on sex and sexuality, gender roles, and the meaning of consent.
Toxic attitudes pervade our society regarding the rights of children and the sexual autonomy of women, and we must fight these attitudes if we are to make any progress -- this means training health care providers, teachers, and law enforcement officers about what to do in the event of violence against girls.
The retrograde mindset that causes parents to favour boys over girls can do a lot of harm, and surely limit children from reaching their true potential.
If we wish for girl children of today to grow up into healthy, well-balanced adults of tomorrow, there is no greater need than to end gender-based violence against girls right now.