Holding Bangladeshi Men Accountable

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Social Commentary
Tags: , , , , , , ,

People tell us to be proud of our country. But why should women be? Bangladesh is a country where men aren’t held accountable for their actions towards women. It is a country where criminals roam free and the victims are punished for being victimized. It is a country where the only option for abused women are suicide or to silently bear the horror of not only the rape but the constant trauma of seeing the rapist roaming free and unpunished, free to harass them further as he pleases.

Stop Rape

Image Courtesy Sun.co.uk

People of all shapes and sizes, from all classes unite under the common goal of beating a wallet thief on the streets of Dhaka. Stealing is a crime, everyone is sure, and crime needs to be punished. But I am compelled to ask: is a woman’s body cheaper than a wallet? If a woman’s body is violated, her piece of mind, her happiness, her dignity stolen from her then why don’t the people of Bangladesh react with equal outrage as when a measly wallet is taken by some poor soul starving on the streets?

“Yes, he assaulted a woman, but otherwise he is a good man,” people say. Would you say the same of a murderer, a torturer or a thief? How can someone be a good man if he doesn’t respect the sanctity of someone else’s body, if they have no regard for other people (yes, women are people too) and their freedom? We lose faith in a man if he commits violent acts against another man, but if a man commits a violent act against a woman we start making excuses, we start looking for all the ways we can forgive him, absolve him. Why the double standards?

“Men are wired differently than women,” people say, ““they are built with stronger sexual urges.” There is not only no real science to support this claim but it is also irrelevant. Some people have anger issues and find it harder to not stab people to death. So what? They will still go to jail if they murder someone and they’ll deserve it too.

However, the absolute worst of what people say is, “It was her fault,” Here is a reality check for you: It doesn’t matter whether she was dancing naked in front of him, a “NO” is still a “NO”. Women shouldn’t have to hide and live their lives in fear. Society shouldn’t tell women they were raped because they didn’t dress modestly enough or they talked too much to boys. Rape is a choice made by men. We should spend our time and energy and the vigor with which we blame our women to start educating our men and punishing the ones who fail to learn.

When Pakistani’s tried to take away our rights we fought back, every Bangladeshi is proud of this. Our fathers and our mothers fought with courage and unwavering determination against injustice. Remember that their blood flows through our veins. The women of Bangladesh won’t tolerate oppression forever. We are not objects men can take as they please. We are not second class citizens whose rights can be trampled on.

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