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OP-ED: Shaping a new Bangladesh

  • Published at 01:16 am November 30th, 2020
Violence against Women

Both individual and collective action are crucial to combat violence against women

To reduce any kind of violence against women, the best way is to sensitize people, both men and women. 

They both need to accept women as human beings instead of treating them as an inferior species. Education alone can’t help the situation, as education will remain futile if reality doesn’t back it up.

We need to apply a holistic approach through stricter policy, social awareness activities, community engagement, national events, mass media involvement, religious sermons, etc. Any sort of social change takes time to happen, especially when the problem has been created thousands of years of patriarchy. Any change will require lots of time and sincere effort from every part of society.

As men are the primary source of violence, they need to adjust their mindsets the most to create a livable environment for women and for the betterment of the whole nation.

The main hurdle of our community is the narrow mindset regarding women’s roles in society -- even many women don’t consider themselves equal members. 

This mindset is the result of people pointing out for generations what women can and cannot do, and what they are good for.

Many men don’t allow this belief to change and, in most cases, hinder any thought of liberation. On the other hand, most women don’t have the knowledge necessary to tackle such people and reach their full potential as human beings. 

To overcome this situation, we need an association between the government, civil society, and private organizations on a large scale.

Education is the most important part of bringing the change we require. 

In every tier of education, women empowerment, gender awareness, and human dignity must be incorporated in some form or manner. From a young age, this will establish women as equal members of society and not inferior beings.

But only education cannot bring about the changes we desire. It will require ample support from the rest of society. 

We need to ensure an environment in the community where such an education can flourish. If not, education will fail when learners find it to be otherwise in the real world.

What is sad but true is that we don’t enforce the law we have for violence against women to its full extent. And that is because of a lack of awareness. 

Survivors don’t know what steps they can take, and perpetrators know that no severe punishments await their crime most of the time.

To spread these messages, everyone has to come together and work together. The government as well as civil society and private organizations have to take large-scale initiatives by collaborating with each other. 

Only then will we be able to sensitize enough people to bring about positive changes in society. Law enforcement must remain vigilant and bring culprits to justice by doing quality police work.

Social awareness can be highly benefited from community engagement initiatives. This sort of initiative empowers the people of the community by enabling them to practice responsibility and accountability. 

Using a local person who has some influence over the community can have significant impact on the mindset of the locality.

Religious institutions especially can play an instrumental part in the wave of change by spreading the message of dignity which was bestowed upon women in their respective religions. 

Only if we can grow as a community can we grow as a nation and created a better society for the people.

There is hope, however, as more and more women have become vocal about their rights as human beings. They are taking a stand for themselves and will no longer silently tolerate the vicious violence that society has bestowed upon them.

And many brave men and women are relentlessly working towards positive social reform, which has started to pay off little by little. A new writ was even submitted to put an end to impunity against marital rape. 

But all this effort can only bring results if we can change our primitive mindsets about women and treat them as fellow human beings. 

To achieve that goal, we have to work individually and collectively, locally and nationally.

Niaz Islam Arif is a development worker. He is currently working as an Assistant Manager at Dnet.

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