We can only begin to fix the problem by facing the facts
It is hard to imagine a crime worse than the rape of a child.
And yet, in Bangladesh, children are all too frequently the victims of this most abhorrent of crimes. Law enforcement seems to be out of its depth when it comes to realistically cracking down on this problem.
The statistics are depressing: The number of child rapes in 2019 has doubled from the previous year. We must keep in mind, of course, that due to the nature of the crime, it is likely that child rape numbers are grossly under-reported.
In Bangladesh, while law enforcement can in no way be let off the hook, the problem runs much deeper.
First and foremost is a lack of understanding and respect for children’s rights in society. Children are often seen as the property of their parents, or their rights are seen to be subordinate to the whims of the adults around them. As a result, abuse is rarely treated with the gravity the issue deserves.
This leads to a culture of silence, where violence against children is rarely talked about. In this climate of silence and denial, it is no wonder that child rapists are emboldened.
There is no use pretending that we have succeeded in stopping child rapes: We can only begin to fix the problem by facing the facts.
To that end, not only is comprehensive reform need in our police sector, with adequate training on how to handle such sensitive issues, but as a society, we must have a serious conversation about what constitutes child abuse, and what children’s inalienable rights are.
Many of these concepts are obvious in most developed nations, but in Bangladesh, we have a long way to go in educating people.