The Financial Express

Uprooting a malignant social tumor

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Uprooting a malignant social tumor

Had the incidents occurred in a destabilised underdeveloped country, the menace could be interpreted by weighing it with rational arguments. Anarchic situations like that mentioned above normally witness a terrible rise in the abuse of women and girls. Besides, a country overrun by enemy forces also passes through the bouts of this scourge of indiscriminate carnal attacks on women. To speak in plain terms, molestation of women after conquering a territory has remained a common practice since the dawn of civilisations. During these abominable acts, the victorious forces put their socio-cultural enlightenments on the back burner. They emerge as monsters in the guise of humans. During the thousands-year-old march of civilisations, millions of women have been made to be tainted with the stigma of being rape victims.

An unacceptably sad aspect of man's advancement in knowledge, his conquering new frontiers in science and technology is the presence of a monstrous being at the subterranean level of his mind. This ugly but universal truth, however, applies to the males in the main. Although the presence of aberrant selves is not too uncommon in sections of women, the 21st century females are still free of the traits like committing sexual violence. The case for today's Bangladesh comes up with all types male monstrosity targeting the helpless women. A major segment of this violence remains confined to the male attitude towards young women, teenage girls --- and even the underage female children. The horrid reality defies any definition. At times, some disillusioned people feel like calling the women of Bangladesh a star-crossed section. Scores of women in the occupied country in 1971 had fallen victim to the atrocity of rape perpetrated by the occupation army. The post-Liberation War government tried its best to find out and rehabilitate these ill-fated women. A sizeable number of these women managed to return to society, their newborns kept at foreign and local charity organisations 

The distressing spike in sexual violence in the country recently continues to worry the saner segments of people. The crime of rape is a common vice in most of the countries. Due to harsh punishments like summary execution, its incidence is almost nil in some lands. But in nations with lax administrative intervention, the vice is emerging as a malignant tumor. Social experts now group Bangladesh among these doomed nations. The government has lately declared death penalty for males charged with proven rape case. Ironically, there are little signs of any abatement in the abhorrent crime. The scenario is the same in both urban and rural areas. In both the places, many rape incidents remain unreported. In the villages, if any case leaks out the women or the teenagers concerned and their families are shunned socially. Most of them are averse to seeking legal help out of fear of being stigmatised. With obsessed rapists on the prowl, no place is safe for women. They remain wary of being alone while out after dusk, or aboard public transport on urgencies late into the night. After incidents of killing following sexual assaults by long-known male youths, careful girls are now learning to remain in touch only with friends of their own sex.

Social affairs analysts can delve into the reasons for the sudden rise in sadistic psychopaths in the country. Abuse of psychedelic drugs is blamed by many for this deterioration. In the last six months, hardly a week does pass without at least two ghastly killings of girls after sexual torture inflicted on them. The compulsive pessimists cannot be blamed if they identify the features of misogyny in the aggressive treatment of women in Bangladesh society. At the end what remain are crass desires devoid of passion and love.

In conformity with the social values and culture in the sub-continent, few women venture to come up and disclose their bitter experiences on being assaulted. In spite of the world-shaking #MeToo movement, many heart-wrenching sex-violence cases remain unreported. And what happens to the bereaved parents losing their children to the monstrous crime is understandable.

In Bangladesh, the legal measures adopted to punish the criminals and ensure justice for the victims involve a lengthy process. Moreover, the prerequisites warranted for proving such crimes are blatantly humiliating for women and girls. Many criminals are thus found escaping the dragnet of law owing to this loophole. Being a village-dominant country, dotted by communities living in easily accessible areas, adolescent girls and women remain perennially vulnerable to eve-teasers and sections of perverted males. Women in the country's big and small cities are no safer. Apart from the dingy neighbourhoods, the relatively spacious and quiet upscale areas have also been identified as safe haven for sexual predators hooked on drugs. Women in the urban areas are more vulnerable to sex-related offences that those in the villages. Thanks to the many types of camouflages and deceptive situations, women in the cities and towns continue to being trapped by criminals. That the young women and girls are not safe in even their educational institutions speaks of the extent of moral bankruptcy on the part of a segment in society.

It doesn't need much elaboration to say that molestation is highly atrocious compared to the now-common sexual harassments. If the crime involves killing, be the victim a woman, an adolescent or a child, it assumes the proportions of cold-blooded monstrosity. Sociologists have lately been found pointing towards a highly ominous element in the scourge. They call it a pure aberrant pleasure which the pervert people derive from sexual attacks and the following killings. Behavioural experts regularly identify the pervasive influence of drugs on communities for the shocking speed at which the scourge of sexual offences is rising. The stunning fact is even the unsparing Covid-19 pandemic couldn't have a sobering effect on the hardened criminals.

The addicts are found hooked on drugs that incredibly change a person's mental state. Different from traditional dopes making the addicts passive and withdrawn, the new synthetic drugs energise the persons taking them, invoking their subterranean demons. For some time after taking the drugs, one remains completely drained out of all their finer sensibilities. As per former drug users, while under influence they would completely lose their capability to differentiate between good and evil, and what's human and what's inhuman. The instances of males becoming irrationally violent and carnally crazy are common with males. The sudden violent turn in sexual assaults coupled with the desire for killings have long been associated with substances like Yaba, heroin and lots of newer synthetic drugs across the country.

These days in the 21st century, few can tell for sure that a hell will not be let loose on carefree girl children in an idyllic village ambience. Given these murky developments, lots of rural parents dread the very thought of allowing their adolescent and baby girls to go out and engage in childhood fun and frolicking. According to organisations engaged in research on this social menace hold the online images available on smartphones responsible for arousing the beast in some males. It is disconcerting to find that of late the demerits of the online media have started overshadowing its beneficial impact on society.

It's not an easy job to put restraints on the digital footage, no matter how abhorrent and shocking they may be. Strong online policing and stringent digital laws can make a difference. But it may not be always possible for many practical reasons. Engaging vigilantes and civil society surveillance groups round the clock to stem this moral decay may prove an action which is weird and grotesque. Few civilised societies are prepared to stoop so low. In effect, it will present the nation to the outside world as one perversely hostile to women. In such a deadlock, aggressive campaigns of creating social awareness can bring about remarkable changes. But wise words mostly fall on deaf ears.


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