Globally, violence against women and girls remains one of the leading human rights violations. Most acts of violence are perpetrated by the closest people — friends and loved ones — while some are carried out in the open by strangers or people who try to demonstrate power or superiority.
Gender based violence happens in every single country and at every layer of society. In fact, it happens at home, at school, on the streets, online and unfortunately at workplaces. Bangladesh, too, is no different in this regard.
But these devastating human rights violations in our world today remain largely unreported due to impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding these.
These observations were made at a daylong programme titled “Elimination of Violence against Women” organised for the students of A Levels and first year of different universities by Edward M Kennedy (EMK) Centre at Dhanmondi in the capital on Monday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Umama Zillur, founder of Cholo Kotha Boli, said, in Bangladesh, there is a widespread prevalence of gender violence including street harassment, acid attacks, stalking, domestic abuse, rape, dowry killing and cyber harassment.
She said the burden of such violence is higher for women of lower classes, minority religions and ethnicities.
Preema Nazia Andaleeb, artist, director and creative editor at Bangladesh Brand Forum, said self awareness and ‘awakeness’ are the keys to prevent violence.
The event helped students understand the nature of violence against women and ways to effectively respond against violence and harassment. A total number of 40-45 students, both boys and girls, participated in the programme. Three different panels on violence against women took place throughout the day.
The event hosted workshops which also included the involvement of audiences in partaking and mind mapping into understanding what violence actually is and how everyone has a role to play in helping women and girls stay safe and feel secured. The goal of the event was to create awareness about women empowerment to promote an inclusive society of peace and harmony.
The ceremony ended with a story telling contest among students. The students also shared their queries on the topic and the floor was open for students to share their experiences too.