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Rape is a woman’s fault, says Bangladesh police

You will probably not believe this. It was hard for me to digest as well, but this police officer repeatedly said that girls should properly cover themselves to avoid being raped. He told this to a female journalist while sitting in a police station.

The interview of the police officer, part of an investigative report by the US Vice news titled “Bangladeshi Gang Rape,” appeared online last Saturday. Many people have shared it on Twitter and Facebook. The report also contains interviews of a rape victim, two gang rapists and a Mullah. Incidentally, both the Mullah and the police officer express similar opinions- that girls are mainly responsible for getting raped as they provoke men by wearing revealing outfits and roaming outside at night. Here are some reactions on twitter to this report:

In the interview with Vice News, the police officer, who is in charge of a regional police station in Sylhet division, blames Western and Bollywood films for inspiring children to wear revealing outfits. He thinks such outfits are against Islamic laws and rules that Bangladesh follows. For him, the best way for girls to avoid being raped is to cover themselves up with Islamic outfits. In addition to that, girls should not go outside at night.

The statement of the police officer is very contradictory to an advertisement broadcasted in Bangladesh recently where the police have been shown as saving a girl from being abused at night. The police suggest that girls use a special app to get quick support from them. Now, which one should I believe? The interview or the advertisement? I think the interview gives a clear picture of the vulnerability of women in Bangladesh, especially in the rural areas. They are truly helpless, despite the fact that rape is a crime punishable by death in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi American journalist Tania Rashid. Photo: Fanny Montero

Bangladeshi American journalist Tania Rashid. Photo: Fanny Montero

I was curious to know the experience of facing such a police officer, so I contacted Tania Rashid, a journalist of Vice news, who has visited some rural parts of Bangladesh and also interviewed the police officer while preparing the report. She told me that his reaction showed her a glimpse of the cultural psyche of men throughout the country.

“The men refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They choose to blame women instead. Until men recognize that the solution to the rape epidemic starts with them, nothing will change,” she  says.

However, the police officer in question has got some supporters as well. Many Facebook users, specifically those who have commented on DW Bengali’s Facebook Page on this topic, agree with his statement. They also think that girls should cover themselves up more to avoid being raped.

So how could we protect girls from being raped in Bangladesh? Tania Rashid thinks : “The men need to be held accountable and the government needs to enforce the laws they already have in place against rapists.”

I agree with her. There is a great need for the government to take bold action in this regard, as the recent statistics indicate a clear increase of rapes in Bangladesh. Such a trend should be stopped immediately.

Author: Arafatul Islam
Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan

You can follow Arafat on Twitter @arafatul


27.11.2014 | 10:30