Facilitating the Fulfilment of State Obligations Towards Women's Equality: Baseline Report on Violence Against Women in Bangladesh
Publication Date: Jan 2002
Since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) in 1995, the government of Bangladesh has identified violence against women as a priority issue. Despite this, all state records show an increased incidence of violence - although this may due to improvements in the recording of violence. This report presents a study carried out by Naripokkho and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (women's rights organisations) to review the frequency, causes and consequences of violence against women in Bangladesh. The study focuses on six forms of violence: family violence, acid assaults, rape and sexual violence, custodial violence (violence that is directed towards anybody placed under state custody, for example in a police station), murder and suicide, and community violence (when community members collectively perpetrate violence on individuals of the same community). Trends in incidences of violence against women are analysed, such as significant increases in cases of rape and murder. Causes of violence are shown to include unfulfilled dowry demands, poor security - for example to and from work - as well as women's limited access to independent income which can leave them little choice but to remain in violent relationships. There are also underlying causes, including practices such as child marriage, and religious conservatism. The report reviews state interventions to combat violence against women and compares these to those specified by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Lastly it assesses the effectiveness of these state interventions and identifies areas for action, including the need for women police to be present to record complaints made by women, and for health care workers to receive training on violence against women.