Wednesday, 6 July, 2022
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All Rape Victims Must Get Justice, Not a Handful of Them

Sabrina Pervin Shanta

All Rape Victims Must Get Justice, Not a Handful of Them

Rape is a nightmare for every girl's life. Every girl should get proper justice. But in the existing situation, we can see only those girls got justice whose case were protested!

It is estimated that approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced sexual harassment in their life, according to World Population Review data of "Rape Statistics by Country 2020." But a very few women get justice and maximum number of women’s case are pending. Most of those cases got solved which were protested.

We always see that, overhyped cases got solved immediately just because these cases were protested. The only those rape incidents were protested where the victim is from a reputed university or a reputed family? It’s obvious that we cannot protest every single rape case but each and every victim should get proper justice.

On the sidewalks, we frequently see some helpless pregnant girls walking around.  Who is the father of her child? The pregnant mother herself does not know! Then what! She will have a baby, who will grow on footpath and obviously with no identity. Who will stand for her? Though nobody cannot stand with her, does it mean that she doesn’t have the right to get justice. Because everyone knows how easy it is to rape a woman in this country, where rapists are well aware that they will not face any consequences at the end of the day. Unfortunately, we still don’t have strong legislation that will work as a safeguard against rape.

Investigation is a vital stage in the trial of rape cases. In Bangladesh, the punishment for rape is provisioned in section 9 of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000. As per the said Act, if a man rapes any woman or child, he shall be sentenced to lifetime imprisonment and with fine. As per the directions of the High Court, the trial of cases filed under the Women and Child Abuse Suppression Act should be completed within 180 days of the lower court taking up the case. But in our system, no one knows how long these cases will linger!

According to the local human rights organization Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK), at least 1,247 women were raped in the last year 2021, while 286 faced attempts at rape. But how many people filed case and how many of them received justice? It’s not only the cost, but also the system.

However, a number of rape victims cannot continue lengthy and expensive court proceedings due to financial crisis and even fails to take full medical care. Whereas in the UK, victims can claim compensation from a government body known as the CICA (Criminal Injury Compensation Authority) where victims can apply for compensation amounting to around £1,000 but higher sums are payable if someone has suffered more than one assault or has a seriously disabling mental health condition. On the other side, In the United States, victims are compensated by the Crime Victims Fund, which was established under the Crime Victims Act of 1984. It covers a part of her expenses including medical expenses and psychological counseling. And what is happening in our country? The government provides the initial medical cost of a rape victim and the expense of a lawsuit.

On the other side, Germany took another step in addition to strict enforcement of the law to prevent rape. A special website was launched to provide sex education to immigrants, funded by the German government. However, the situation in our country is still very different. No proper step is being taken.

Why should a woman or a girl have to endure violence against her? It is only because she has nowhere to go? Survivors of gender-based violence have the right to apply for free legal aid from the government. The government should ensure that a rape victim gets legal and that are aware of their rights.

In addition to the cost, there is a system of quick fixing and standing by the side of neglected victims. Our country is developing; our standard of living is improving. Therefore we must pay attention to these things. We protest and raise our voice only for some special rape cases. But we have to make sure that every rape case is disposed of in a speedy trial court and every girl should be given legal protection including proper justice.

 

The writer is a final year student at the Department of Law, North South University