• Friday, Aug 19, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

OP-ED: The tree of misogyny

  • Published at 07:28 pm October 23rd, 2020
violence against women gbv
Representational photo: Bigstock

Will capital punishment prevent rapes from occurring?

There have been more than 11,000 cases of violence against women in the last one year in Bangladesh according to different newspapers. The law of imposing capital punishment on culprits have been implemented after an ocean of struggles by protestors. 

Yet, the bigger question remains unanswered. Will capital punishment stop rape? Will the mindset of rapists change due to the death penalty? What actually influences people towards the sick mind-set which allows them to commit rape? There is a lot to figure out and an ocean still that remains to be changed.

From the moment a boy is born, the environment is what he learns from. He is told by the family to work hard and that he must struggle in life. Not being monetarily wealthy will lead him nowhere in life and he will eventually be unable to find a partner to marry. 

From the parents to the society, the same message is conveyed to the boy as he grows up. From a very young age, the boy gets the message that women are an object to be achieved. An object that can be achieved by gaining monetary wealth. 

In remote areas of the country, this concept is taken to its extreme where the mindset of people works in such a way where they think women are objects that can be bought with money and wealth. They treat women like a product to be bought from the market.

However, the reality is the message interpreted in the entire society is wrong. Women are not an object. Women are humans just like men. They are partners. They are not achieved. They are brought in a man’s life as a support, as a better half. This concept of objectifying women has led to millions of cases of domestic violence in this country against women, since the moment Bangladesh emerged as a nation. Rape is a burning issue but domestic violence towards women is no less of an issue. 

The sin of rape has evolved from many social issues, values, norms, and cultures of the sub-continent. Over the years, this has expanded so much that it now runs in the mind-sets of the majority of society and that is where the problem starts.

Is the perception of objectifying women the only reason towards rape? Well, perhaps it goes deeper than that. Bangladesh is a country where women have not received proper respect in the place where they spend most of their time: Their homes. 

They are dominated by the men in their households. This is the scenario of almost most families, especially in rural areas. Women are bound by the decisions of men, initially by their fathers or brothers and then by their husbands. 

This inconsideration for and undervaluing of women have set a mark in the mindset of the entirety of society. This is the root from where it starts. Watching a father dominating and undervaluing the mother, the young son gets his first lesson and impression of women. These values are embedded in him, taking root and spreading out to form branches until it becomes a full-grown tree.

A lack of knowledge, understanding, and maturity is also a crucial factor that waters this tree. Women are objectified in mass media and elsewhere as well all across the globe. The lack of maturity and understanding while receiving these portrayals of women makes the matter worse. People fail to understand that the representation in media is meant for entertainment and not a portrayal of real life. 

The decision of the death penalty will not lead to a change in the mindset of society neither will it stop rapes from occurring. It may provide comfort to the victims but the main objective should be to prevent rape from happening in the first place. The concept of bringing justice after it has already happened should come later. There is no punishment that can fully provide justice for rape. Capital punishment too falls short. 

People should be taught from a very early age and the teaching should not merely discourage rape but, rather, men should be taught to treat women not as objects and to give them the proper respect that they deserve. It is only through changing the mindset of society that we can have a nation that is free from the curse of rape and allow women to feel safe. 

Md Salahuddin Huq is a student at North South University with a concentration in Marketing.