On occasion of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in 2022 Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) organized several activities from 25th November’21 to 10th December21 in it’s different intervention areas with the aim of creating awareness to prevent and stop all forms of violence against women and children. As a part of these activates BNWLA carried out a roundtable meeting on “Sexual Harassment in Bangladesh: Current Context and What to Do to Prevent It” at Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia Hall of the National Press Club, Dhaka in collaboration with the Fair War Foundation. The theme of the Year – Orange the World: End of Violence Against Women Now! In this context, the round table discussion took place for two hours highlighting present situation of sexual harassment in Bangladesh, nature and extend of sexual harassment, causes and contributing factors, also highlighting the major consequences of such violence on personal and social life of women.
This event was attended by media persons, teachers of different universities, representatives of government and non-government organizations and lawyers. The members of the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association, lawyers and officials were also present in the event.
Description of the event:
The detail description of the roundtable meeting on “Sexual Harassment in Bangladesh: Current Context and What to Do to Prevent It” is given below;
Advocate Jobaida Pervin
General Secretary, BNWLA
|Advocate Jobaida Pervin, General Secretary of BNWLA gave her welcome speeches. In her speeches she said the Bangladesh National Association of Women Lawyers is celebrating the Sixteenth Day Activism from November 25 to December 10 this year as it does every year. She said, “Women are helpless in the current situation of sexual harassment in Bangladesh. They don’t get anyone to stand by and be vocal. Moreover, the incidence of rape and violence is on the rise as a result of not bringing the perpetrators under the law and ensuring exemplary punishment. She added that the Bangladesh National Association of Women Lawyers is concerned about the current situation of sexual harassment and violence and is demanding the immediate arrest and speedy trial of those responsible for all the sexual harassment and violence.|
Present situation of Sexual Harassment in Bangladesh High Court Guidelines on Prevention and Protection of Sexual Harassment at Education Institutions and Workplaces.
Advocate Salma Ali
|Advocate Salma Ali, President of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association was present as the chief guest on the occasion. She presented the keynote presentation on Present situation of Sexual Harassment. She articulated that “Currently, violence against women in the country is increasing at an alarming rate in every case,”. Now is the time for women to stand up. In her presentation, she highlighted the current horrific picture of sexual harassment against women in Bangladesh. He mentioned that about 84% of women in Bangladesh are constantly being sexually harassed on the road, in vehicles, in educational institutions, at work and even at home. According to the national daily and online news portal, the total number of rape cases from January 2021 to October 2021 was 1162 (955 rapes, 220 gang rapes and 259 attempted rapes).|
|Speeches of the guests:|
Journalist, The Daily Star
|Prominent journalist Jaima Islam said in her speech- We see women being sexually harassed in their workplace every day through various means. This type of violence against women can be prevented if sexual harassment prevention committees are established and implemented in every workplace of the country.|
|Dr. Rasheda Akhter
Teacher and Treasurer,
|Dr. Rasheda Akhter, a teacher and treasurer of Jahangirnagar University, in her speech as a guest on the occasion highlighted the helplessness of women in the context of sexual harassment in Bangladesh. “Even if women are sexually harassed, they can’t complain for fear of losing their jobs and being socially degraded,” she said. In this case, he attaches importance to the positive attitude of all the society towards women.|
Fair War Foundation
|Bablur Rahman, the country representative of the Fair War Foundation, said in his speech that we should not stop regardless of gender. We all need to be vocal. It is very important to implement and monitor the existing laws of Bangladesh. He thanked BNWLA for organizing the event making the civil society organizations, journalists and other relevant entities and individuals together in a same platform to prevent sexual harassment.|
The participants all shared their experiences of sexual harassment from their lives.
Advocate Seema Zahur
Vice President, BNWLA
|In the closing speeches of the event Advocate Seema Zahur, Vice President, BNWLA highlighted the impact of Sexual harassment can be devastating on women’s personal and social life. The major consequences of sexual harassment are higher level of anxiety, stress, disorders, depression, trauma, panic attacks, loss of self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness in their ability to respond to the abuse. She requested all to work together to prevent the sexual harassment.