Written by Nathasha De Alwis
18 Apr, 2019 | 5:31 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Not just women in Sri Lanka but all around the world, women regularly experience assault and abuse. Yet many avoid speaking up about their traumatic experiences. They keep this a secret for the fear of being shamed by society.
The blame game targets the victim rather than the perpetrator on the matter. The ones who speak out are blamed for their fight.
Sexual assault or abuse is not something that is common only in Sri Lanka, it is also common in many Asian countries. To remind you of a few, 2012 Delhi gang rape, Kathua rape case and many others.
Recently an incident has been reported from Bangladesh where a student who spoke up and demanded justice was burned to death.
Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a 19-year-old school girl filed a sexual harassment complaint against her headmaster less than two weeks ago. In a country where girls and young women chose not to speak out, she stands out for her courage.
Nusrat Jahan stood out not because she spoke out, but because she with the help of her family filed a complaint against the headmaster. Nusrat who was from Feni, a small town in Dhaka, studied in an Islamic school.
She told police that on 27th of March, the headmaster called her into his office and repeatedly touched her in an inappropriate manner, however, she noted that she ran out before the thing could go any further.
Nusrat 11 days after her assault gathered her courage to go back to school to sit for her final exams. During school hours a fellow female student took Nusrat to the rooftop of the school saying one of her friends was beaten up.
However, Nusrat taking her last breath had noted that when she arrived at the rooftop four or five people, wearing burqas, surrounded her and allegedly pressured her to withdraw the case against the headmaster. When she refused, the group has tried to fake an attempt of suicide by setting her on fire.
Thousands were shaken by Nusrat’s death and attended her funeral. Fight for her justice is still being fought in Bangladesh. The death has taken social media by a storm and many note that they fear to even give birth to daughters in a country such as this.
All victims face many kinds of mental pressure and threats. Many victims choose not to speak up knowing what the consequences will be. There are several questions that we as women can ask from society.
Is speaking up about what happened to you a crime?
Is reporting to relevant authorities what happened to you a crime?
When is this going to change?
When will women have the freedom to speak up about what is happening to them?
This I assure you is not just in Bangladesh, this happens in our own country. According to statistics obtained via police.lk in 2018 over 2500 complaints have been lodged regarding rape or sexual abuse. However, keep in mind that the real number can likely be much higher.
Following are the numbers;
We cannot make a change in the whole world, yet we have the ability to make a change in where we live and where we work.
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