A few days ago, Raushan Ara (pseudonym) took a bus from Shimultali in Gazipur to work. He works in a bank in Uttara. Shortly after boarding the bus, he realized that the eyes of a young passenger in the back seat were following him. With some discomfort he waited to reach Dhaka. But suddenly the hand of the boy sitting in the back seat scratched his back. He screamed. Raushan Ara seems to have lost control of himself in anger and grief. At that moment, he grabbed the collar of his shirt and slapped the boy on the cheek.

Suddenly some people came forward after seeing the scene of the scene on the bus. Raushan Ara told everyone about the incident. But he became speechless when he saw that one of the passengers of the bus did not stand beside him but supported the boy who was torturing him. Someone said, ‘One and a half of these things happen on public buses’; Someone said, ‘Boys this age are a little naughty’; Someone said, ‘Why did you get on a public bus when you were so tired?’ How many such things! Someone again questioned his dress. Raushan Ara was shocked by such comments. Not a single woman spoke up for him. I felt very helpless. Trembling with anger, fear, panic and discomfort, he finally reached the office.

Although the name Raushan Ara is pseudo, the experience is real. Every day thousands of Raushan Ara are subjected to various forms of harassment on public transport. According to the BRAC report, 94% of women who use public transport have been sexually abused at some point. A few days ago, there was an opportunity to talk to a number of women in need of a study on violence against women in public transport. I was surprised to find that while almost 90 percent of women reported experiencing sexual harassment on public transport, about 90 percent of men said they did not. They have never even witnessed such an incident.

Some people said that if a woman wanders outside the house, she will be tortured – that is normal. Some blamed women’s clothing, while others suggested separate public transport for women. In other words, either the man has avoided his own crime, or indirectly, he thinks that such torture against women is justified. The notion that violence against women is prevalent in public transport alone is not. The tendency to deny crime as a crime, not to acknowledge oneself as a criminal, and the culture of victim blaming, which is at the root of violence against women in every field, at home and abroad, in educational institutions, in the workplace.

Mental abuse is a far cry, physically abusing women is a serious crime, many men have no idea about it, even many women. Many women think it is logical to be beaten by their husbands. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) Multiple Indicator Survey 2019, one in four married women in the country finds it reasonable to be beaten by their husbands. That is to say, the mentality of patriarchal hegemony that only men are being made criminals is not; On the contrary, it is creating a mentality among women to accept men’s crime as logical.

As per the government, 72.8% of women in Bangladesh are victims of abuse by their husbands or close family members. This includes physical, mental, economic and sexual abuse. Surprisingly, most of the abusive men do not even acknowledge these abuses.

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