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OP-ED: Will the rape pandemic never end?

  • Published at 04:53 pm October 5th, 2020
Representational image Bigstock

We must all take a stand against the curse of sexual violence

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the country is experiencing a different pandemic altogether -- of rape. 

Whichever media outlet one follows, there are reports of rape every single day. The incidence of rape has been so widespread nowadays that it has become difficult even for the media to keep readers updated. 

Needless to say, not even all rape incidents are reported in the media due to obvious socio-economic factors and lack of social accountability.

Having looked at some of the very recent barbaric incidents of rape, any person with a healthy state of mind can be forgiven for losing their sanity. 

The victims range from infants to mothers of children and the perpetrators belong to all kinds of professions, including teachers and students.  

The most worrying aspect of the recent occurrences across the country is the manner in which the heinous crimes are committed. These vicious incidents are nothing but the reflection of a sickening society. 

If anyone says that our society is already sick, then the answer is that it has gotten even sicker. 

But, sadly, the movers and shakers of the country, especially the policy-makers, do not seem to be as worried as they should be. 

Keep in mind, condemning rape publicly and actually doing something meaningful to prevent it are two different things. Everybody among the ones mentioned above must try to empathize with the unimaginable pain the victims go through. 

It is high time for all of us to come together to fight against the rape pandemic. In order to do so, there must be short, medium, and long-term policies in place.

In the short term, there must be a zero tolerance approach towards the offenders. Law enforcers must be able to act in accordance with the law. 

While dealing with the perpetrators, law enforcers will only see them as individuals, with no regard for their social status or political connections. 

A supervising mechanism must be in place to ensure that law enforcement is working properly. 

Of course, victims should be provided with all the support they need. A situation will have to be created where the offenders, rather than the victims, feel ashamed.

In the medium term, the existing laws should be strengthened to make people think many times before committing such a crime. 

The three principal organs of the country -- legislature, executive, and judiciary -- should come together in this regard. 

In the long term, a social campaign should be initiated to educate people about the menace. The negative aspects must be highlighted in text books. Parents have to be educated so that they can teach their children at home.

The role of the media cannot be overstated in all three approaches mentioned above. The media outlets should initiate a crusade against this reprehensible crime.

Let us be clear -- rape is nothing new in our country and in the world. This heinous crime has been haunting mankind since time immemorial. It is a fact of life. 

But all-out efforts must be there to ensure that such heinous activities are kept to a minimum.

Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan is Special Correspondent at Dhaka Tribune.

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