The Financial Express

Cruelty to women

| Updated: November 12, 2021 23:01:16

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In a country where the prime minister and the speaker of parliament are women, the impression would have been that their kind in general enjoys equal rights with men in society. Far from it, they mostly face adversities of the worst types at different strata, lower of those in particular. Many of them fall victim to physical torture and abuse simply because they are the feminine of the kind. There are reports galore that women in rural areas are subjected not only to physical assault but also outrageous indignity comparable only to that of the Middle Age. The latest such barbarity inflicted on a 42-year-old woman in a village called Malanchi under Jashoresadarupazila makes a poor commentary on social advancement in this part of the world. She was tied to a tree and beaten up mercilessly before her hair was cut off and her face smeared with lime and ash ink.

What was her crime? Here reports carried in different newspapers vary. According to one such report, before his death nine months ago, her husband registered the ownership of a patch of land to her name where she has been living. But her husband's cousins wanted to take possession of the land and they spread rumour of illicit relations against her in order to grab the plot of land. An arbitration reached by local leaders resolved the issue and she was also married to another man of the locality. The bone of contention lies here. Her opponents claim that she has married a man who is a cousin of her father-in law. So they must be evicted from the village. After all, such a marriage is a bad example before the complainants' children now growing up. If this is so, how was the marriage solemnised in the first place?

Whatever may be the case, such attacks on women are unacceptable. She has married a man and if it is her fault, the man must be equally guilty if not more. Strangely, the husband was not targeted for the attack but the woman was because women and girls are soft targets. It is a crime to take law into one's own hands. If the opponent party feels morality was compromised, they could seek redress in the court of law. But physical assault and indignation inflicted on the woman cannot be a way of resolution to the dispute.

The fact is, such incidents are reported from time to time from different corners of the country. But noticeably,Jashore appears to be leading other areas in this infamous summary trial and 'justice'. Last year two similar incidents ---one in January and another in October -- were reported from a Magura village and a Chowgachia village respectively. Sadistic and tinged with sexual aberrations, such attacks appeal to enthusiasm of some chauvinistic male members of society. The attackers apart, there are inquisitive onlookers who do not intervene when such cruel acts are committed. Also, self-chosen preachers do not help the cause; rather they make the matter worse by their biased sermons. Women rights activists have a long way to go before dispelling the biased attitudes against women. 

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