Shocking rise in child rape

Let not perpetrators slip away

It is dismaying to note that at least 271 children were killed after they were raped or subjected to sexual and physical abuse in Bangladesh in 2018, as reported by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) on Sunday. Such a statistic underlines the deep-seated problems in our society and reminds us of the perils of child abuse.

From school assemblies to parliament, we often hear that “children are the torch bearers of our future”. But are we doing enough to save these innocent lives from the monsters? When we look at the statistics we cannot but become doubly concerned. 

The epidemic of sexual abuse of children

 has long been sidelined inBangladesh

 and this must be changed to protect them

When the rule of law is inadequate, perpetrators remain unaffected, especially when the society responds in a way that does not protect the underprivileged victims. Stricter laws and more vigorous enforcement might help, but these are not enough. It is time for the government to adopt tough legal measures to prosecute child sexual abuse cases so that we are able to protect our future generations. 

Experts have pointed out that diminishing social and family values and a culture of impunity are the primary reasons behind the rising number of rape incidents. Moreover, because of the social stigma associated with sexual violence, many of the incidents go unreported. In order to decrease the number of rapes and put an end to child sexual abuse, streamlining better processes to facilitate complaints and providing counselling and medical help are imperative. Raising public awareness on recognising and preventing all forms of abuse should be mandatory. The epidemic of sexual abuse of children has long been sidelined in Bangladesh and this must be changed to protect them. 

In this connection, awareness campaigns in primary schools, high schools and madrasas must be initiated with the active participation of the teachers and guardians.