242 committed suicide in 2021 with violence against girl children rising.

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Girl children committing suicide more than doubled in 2021 compared to the year before.

Representational Image. Picture: Collected

Different types of abuse of girl children including rape, murder, and sexual harassment rose in 2021.

Some 242 girl children also committed suicide in 2021 while in 2020 the number was 104. As such, girl children committing suicide increased 133% in a year, says a research report of the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum.

According to the report, 272 girl children were killed across the country in 2021 due to various reasons, including domestic violence, family feuds, and a practice of not retaining evidence of rape or sexual abuse. In 2020, 164 girls were killed in the country. As such, the number of killings increased around 66% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Nasima Akhter Jolly, secretary of the Forum, presented the report in a press conference at the National Press Club on Sunday. 

52 girl children were also victims of pornography in 2021, says the report.

According to the report, 1,117 girls were raped in 2021. The number of rapes in 2020 was 626. As such, the number of rapes increased 78.43% in a year.

In 2021, 161 girls were victims of attempted rape. Guardians resorted to legal action in 804 cases of rape and attempted rape.

The report said 116 girl children were victims of sexual harassment and torture in 2021. The number of such incidents was 104 in 2020. Compared to the previous year, sexual harassment and torture increased 12% in 2021.

The number of child marriages also increased 15% since 2019. From August 2020 to November 2021, 2,868 girls were victims of child marriage. In 2019, the number was 2,503.

The Forum conducted the survey gathering data from media reports on the abuse of girls under 19 years of age, published in 24 national and local dailies and online news portals of the country between January and December of 2021. The information was analysed in 56 sub-categories of 10 categories.

At the press conference, Girl Child Advocacy Forum President Badiul Alam Majumder said the law enforcement agencies detained numerous accused for trial over incidents of child abuse, but most of the detainees were released on bail. They are now threatening the girls and their parents in various ways. No information is available on the final punishment of the perpetrators of the crimes.

He said because of a patriarchal society, the parents of victims of child abuse are reluctant to take legal action. In many cases, the guardians do not want to lodge complaints as those involved in the crimes are blessed with political patronage. Incidents of child marriage and child repression have increased significantly.

Nobonita Chowdhury, director of Preventing Violence Against Women Initiative and Gender Justice & Diversity at BRAC, said the actual number of incidents is far more than the numbers published in newspapers. Very few incidents make it to the attention of the media. 

Golam Kibria, head of Education, Quality Assurance and Compliance for Educo Bangladesh, said on the one hand we are racing towards achieving the SDG or Sustainable Development Goals, and on the other hand, repression of girl children is increasing at an alarming rate day by day. Now, it is high time that the government and citizens of the country find out why such incidents are increasing in our society.

The National Girl Child Advocacy Forum presented 11 recommendations at the press conference, to contain the increasing numbers of girl child repression. The recommendations include formation of a separate directorate for child protection, putting a stop to the political and administrative patronage of child abusers, and following through and completing the judicial process in all cases of child abuse, rape, and murder as soon as possible.

Source: The Business Standard



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