Saturday, May 06, 2017

An Essay on Eve Teasing in Bangladesh - A Social Curse

Our Society is suffering from many social evils at the moment. One of the worst evils is the Eve Teasing. Eve 'Teasing is a term which usually involves young men annoying or disquieting girls or women by making sexual innuendos against them in public or in work places. Education Ministry in Bangladesh has designated 13 June, 2010 as Eve Teasing Protest Day. This declaration reflects increasing concern over the worrying number of girls and women who have committed suicide in the country to escape sexual harassment known as Eve Teasing.

Sexual harassment, often known as "eve teasing", is a regular occurrence for the women and girls of Bangladesh. It is a traumatic experience which can leave deep psychological scars and has negative consequences for the greater community. Parents, who are concerned about their daughter's honor or safety, sometimes keep them home from school and/or many them off at an early age. While Bangladesh has declared sexual harassment illegal, state interventions have been inadequate in stopping it to date.

"Eve teasing" on the street is a reflection of the inner beast in men. Women are subjected to this social evil irrespective of what background they are from. The dictionary meaning of 'teasing' is to make fun of a person playfully, unkindly or annoyingly. It's a euphemism used in the sub-continent for public sexual harassment or molestation of women by men, with eve being a reference to the biblical Eve.

"Eve teasing" or sexual harassment of women in public places is a growing concern in Bangladesh and throughout this subcontinent. It is a crime easy to commit, but difficult to prove, as "eve-teasers" often devise ingenious ways to attack women, even though many feminist writers term it as "little rapes," and usually occur in public places. In spite of remarkable development in many areas of women's empowerment, women are not safe while walking on roads.

Bangladesh with her micro-credit operations has improved the economic and social status of women tremendously even in rural areas. It has shown the world how a Muslim society can effectively deal with issues of gender discrimination. Women nave led both the country and the two main parties for the. past 20 years. In addition, large numbers of women sit in Bangladesh's superior courts. It has achieved impressive results in education and economic opportunities for women. The Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees equal rights to all citizens. The importance of women as an important human resource has been recognized by the Constitution of Bangladesh and it has accorded equality to women.

But discriminatory treatment and violence against women has remained widespread across the country. Teasing and staring at women is common in all public places where unidentified men and women face each other. Teasing, odd gestures and verbal abuses are considered sexual harassment in many developed societies, however in our society this is seen as 'acceptable.'

State intervention towards preventing violence against women has been inadequate to date. Laws are there but their enforcement is weak. Moreover, the legal process to combat gender-based violence is complicated. In Women and Children Repression and Prevention Act 2000 an excellent provision was included and it was said that teasing of women like making obscene comments or gestures was an offence for which the offender might be awarded up to seven years of simple imprisonment or meticulous imprisonment for two years. But the ac: as amended in 2003 where no one could be charged with sexual abuse of a woman until it is physical.

Although the government has signed different international conventions and introduced special laws to protect women and children, it has not succeeded in providing adequate security to them. It is possible to stop this harassment only if the law is enforced on the perpetrators. Men's education, sensitivity, cooperation, respect and ethics can help change the scenario.

Sexual terrorism thrives on patriarchal attitudes, prejudices, cultural norms, double standards and discriminatory laws that devalue women and deny them their rights. Eradicating it will require transformative social change. Failure of the state and the society to protect women from stalking has led many young girls and, in some cases, parents to commit suicide.

In Bangladesh, young girls, especially school and college going girls and female garment workers top the list as victims of eve-teasing. If you are a native Bangladeshi, you may know of somebody who was forced to discontinue her education for the fear of harassment outside home. This is why eve-teasing is also one of the major factors contributing to early marriage.

School and College gates or the street is the main target of the wayward young men to disturb girls and women.

To curb this heinous social crime public awareness, community responsibilities and implementation of laws are immediately necessary. It is on move now. A large number of school and college students held a rally. in Dhaka to protest against 'eve teasing' and the sexual harassment of women. The protesters have urged the Bangladesh government to take proper steps to curb sexual harassment and provide better protection for women. Mobile courts in Bangladesh have been empowered to prosecute people accused of harassing women sexually, or eve teasing. According to the BBC, anyone convicted of sexual harassment or stalking of women will face a year in jail or a fine of about 70 dollars or both.

It is our moral duty, social obligation and legal right to fight against Eve Teasing. Education Ministry initiated the process with the declaration of 13 June as the Eve Teasing Protection Day, which is encouraged to protest this social evil. But it must be removed at any cost.