Sexual harassment, often known as “eve teasing”, is a regular occurrence for the women and girls of Bangladesh. A recent study by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) showed that almost 90 percent of girls aged 10-18 have undergone the experience. The harassment can take a variety of forms and the perpetrators come from multiple walks of life; they are rich and poor, educated and uneducated; according to the BNWLA study, teenage boys, rickshaw pullers, bus drivers, street vendors, traffic police and often supervisors or colleagues of the working women had all been cited as “eve teasers". For the girls and women who are subject to sexual harassment, the experiences are traumatic and can leave deep psychological scars. The BNWLA study also noted that in the past two years, at least 12 girls have committed suicide in circumstances stemming from “eve teasing”. And the harmlessness of the victims often leads to further violent implications. It is often associated with rape and murder. Rape is the most common form of violence against women in Bangladesh. Between 2002 and 2006, there were over five thousand reported incidents. Almost two thousand of those rapes were of girl children. 625 of the victims were killed after they were raped and 69 killed themselves. One has to wonder how many of these crimes could have been prevented if society took sexual harassment more seriously and did not wait until girls were raped and murdered to take action. No one should have to suffer the experience of sexual harassment or the physical and sexual assaults that often come with it. Though sexual harassment is vicious and tormenting for the girls and women who endure it, the implications extend to the entire nation. [continues]
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