Nat'l alliance demanded to combat sexual harassmentStaff Correspondent
Government officials and right activists on Tuesday said there should be a national alliance with representatives from local government, civil society, community and media for preventing sexual harassment.
They called for this at an inception meeting held at the National Press Club auditorium in the capital.
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee’s Meyeder Janya Nirapad Nagarikatwa project organised the programme titled ‘Combating sexual harassment against girl students’.
While presenting the keynote paper, director of BRAC gender justice and diversity and advocacy for social change unit Sheepa Hafiza said according to the study conducted by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association in 2010 said that in Bangladesh almost 90 per cent girls aged 10-18 years were victims of sexual harassment while 36 per cent of them experienced it in front of the schools.
The goal of the MEJNIN project, from 2012 to 2015, was building awareness and confidence of students and community people to protect and protest against sexual harassment, Sheela added.
‘We also need to establish a national networks and alliances involving government, non-government, community people, civil society and media to meet this goal,’ she said.
Ministry of women and children affairs’ Multi-Sectoral Programme on Violence Against Women Project director Abul Hossian said local government and the media should be included in projects like this.
He also said due to political influence and lack of security sometimes prevention and protest against sexual harassment could not take place.
Sadeka Halim, information commissioner of the Information Commission, said sexual harassment occurred due to patriarchal ideology, wrong interpretation of religious regulations and above all male-dominated power structure.
She also said parliament members of each area should also play an important role to combat sexual harassment.
The discussants also said that unemployment, intrusion by foreign culture and weak family bond were contributing to unexpected incidents like sexual harassment.
The project will cover 400 secondary girls and boys’ high schools in 13 districts in two phases. The districts are Dhaka, Narayanganj, Comilla, Sylhet, Rangpur, Tangail, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Faridpur and Tongi.
The project will target 1,20,000 students, 8,000 teachers, 36,000 parents, 6,000 influential community members, and 864 state and non-state actors.
The programme was attended, among others, by Alatunnesa Girls’ High School teacher Rawshan Ara, Shukrabad High School teacher Mohammad Nurul Amin and Mohakahli Model School Class X student Monisha Akter.
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