Convicts of Women Repression cases slips through the cracks
Women and children in Bangladesh do not disclose information of sexual violence and harassment fearing stigma and reprisal. Those who seek justice face obstacles in every phase of the legal procedure.
Naripokkho, a women’s rights body, has demanded that the flawed and age-old Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 (amended in 2013) be revised and made time-befitting to ensure punishment for the culprits as most accused slip through the loopholes.
A study by Naripokkho found that the survivors are harassed and verbally abused while filing a case at the police station, undergoing medical tests at the hospital and facing defence questions at the court. Furthermore, the victims and their families are often discouraged to seek legal action due to the lengthy procedure.
The discriminatory Evidence Act allows defense lawyers to interrogate the victim and question her character. If proved, the accused may get released in such cases. A major number of accused are reported to be relieved from charges, the rights group said on the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women (Nov 25), and urged the government to modify the Act since the law was prepared on the basis of a century-old society.
A fast and flawless legal process, however, can curb the incidents of sexual harassment and violence significantly, but not enough measures are being taken, the rights group also added.