Silent Tears

Two-thirds of women in Bangladesh, around 66%, have been victims of domestic violence— and statistics indicate that 72.7% of the women who have experienced domestic abuse never shared their experiences with others.
Silent Tears
According to research, most women in Bangladesh suffer from chronic abuse, torture, and violence in their homes. In addition to torture which causes serious physical injury- domestic violence also takes other forms such as emotional abuse and marital rape. 

A tiny fraction of these women inform local leaders about their experiences or seek help from the police. Four out of every five cases, brought before the court by women, are related to violence, according to various studies. There is very little chance that the court will rule in favor of the victim and in most cases the court will dismiss a case and release a perpetrator – studies say. Studies also highlighted the fact that there are no laws that can provide direct protection against any form of violence other than dowry demands after marriage. Some women fear further harassment if they report or share their experiences. 

This problem is deeply rooted in the existing economic, cultural and social prejudices and stereotypes, molded by rigid perceptions of patriarchy. Women are generally looked down upon, considered less capable, less important and less powerful than men. The root of the misconception and misogyny takes shape in early childhood. 

In addition to gruesome domestic violence against women, abuse such as stalking, child marriage, sex trafficking, sexual assault and other forms of harassment are alarmingly high. 

Among the many factors that influence the perception of gender, media is the most pervasive: newspapers, films, television serials, and programs often portray women negatively as “the weaker sex”, paired with a belief that men can or should be in charge. Many advertisements also depict women as objects of lust and desire. This reinforces the misconception that women are made for male pleasure. It is this systemic discrimination that denies women their rights and allows men to feel free to use violence against them as a tactic to maintain their superiority.

Different studies also show that men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they were raised in dysfunctional family settings. Men who are exposed to violence at home at early ages are more likely to adopt violent attitudes towards other women in adulthood. Other research indicates that when men feel unable to live up to societal expectations of masculinity or feel that their authority has been called into question, they become more prone to perpetrate violence. In some societies, violence towards women is sometimes considered the right of men even from the women’s perspective. What’s most disturbing is the fact that women remain silent to protect family honor. 

Experts say that a “culture of silence” that has been created empowers violence. Therefore, to combat violence, women must speak out and let their stories be heard. Violence against women is a crime that violates their rights. Women should not feel guilty, embarrassed or ashamed. Unfortunately, the perception in some quarters is that women are responsible for the acts of violence committed against them.

Laura Mohiuddin is the founder of Film It and Pixcellent Photography


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