An image of a 20-year old abused housewife with a story published in the media on Tuesday has touched us deeply. In the picture, Ruma Akhtar, the housewife, cries after physical torture and losing her hair as well at Charormoni village under Charormoni Mahon Union Parishad of Laxmipur district. Ruma’s husband, sister-in-law and others tied her hands and legs with ropes, beat her up indiscriminately, hit her head against the wall and cut off her hair with a razor blade as she failed to meet their demand for taka three lakh as dowry.
Such incidents of violence, torture and abuse for dowry is nothing new in our country. Many women on Bangladesh met the tragic end of their lives in many ways at the hands of their husbands’ families. Many of them were killed brutally or beaten to death by their husbands. Even sometimes husbands set their wives on fire by pouring kerosene or petrol in many cases. Cases were filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act in connection with gruesome crimes against their husbands and their husbands’ families. Country’s courts also sentenced some person to death or life imprisonment for killing or torturing their wives. But the country’s most of the women, who are being tortured, harassed, humiliated and beaten up every day, remain silent considering their children fates and social stigma.
Inclusive and equitable growth
cannot take place without
recognising the role of women
The families of ill-fated housewives continuing providing large sums of money, jewellery, and other goods to grooms’ families in order to bring smile on the faces of their daughters silently. The country has several acts for rooting out violence against women and prohibiting dowry but the system does not disappear, because it has already been established here culturally.
Country’s women have been empowered in Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina in last few years. And the country achieved significant development in women education and empowerment but the dowry violence is far from dying down.
Inclusive and equitable growth cannot take place without recognising the role of women. But the fact is that the incidents of violence and brutal torture against housewives continue in our country instead of empowering them.
There is no “magic bullet” solution to this end, but understanding its root causes can be the good first step. In this regard, we all have to change our mindset towards women to prevent violence against them. Apart from the government, all conscious people of the society must take measures to ensure women and girls’ security wherever they will be staying.
It is very unfortunate that like social cancer, dowry is gradually destroying the moral values of marriage and relationships. Therefore, we all have to work with responsibilities for freeing social menaces like housewife repression for dowry.