Eve-Teasing in Bangladesh


Bangladesh, a small and developing country, is beset with multiple problems. Among them, eve-teasing, nowadays, has become a talk of the country owing to its injurious effects on women, especially to the teen aged girls. It’s obvious that no conscious citizen of our country is unacquainted with this problem created by evil-doers. Whenever, we put our eyes on daily newspapers, we find the news of suicide of any school or college going girl which is the outcome of eve-teasing.

I reckon that everyone knows what eve-teasing is, for which there is no need to define it black and white. Varieties of reasons can be cited. Through satellite TV, the young boys and girls are watching pornography which is directly or indirectly leading them to eve-teasing. It is a matter of great regret.

Most victims of it are women or girls who fail to wear very modest dress. On the contrary, those wearing decent dress are not found to be teased as usual. The previous two sentences imply that not only the evil doer youths, but also the women wearing indecorous dress are equally responsible for it. There is a law against it but law is not enough to solve the problem. Parents should make their children realize the impacts of eve-teasing.

Definition of Eve-Teasing
Our Society is suffering from many social evils at the moment. One of the worst evils is the Eve Teasing. Eve Teasing is a term which usually involves young men annoying or disquieting girls or women by making sexual innuendos against them in public or in work places. Eve teasing is a euphemism used in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan for public sexual harassment, street harassment or molestation of women by men.
Our Society is suffering from many social evils at the moment. One of the worst evils is the Eve Teasing. Eve Teasing is a term which usually involves young men annoying or disquieting girls or women by making sexual innuendos against them in public or in work places. Eve teasing is a euphemism used in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan for public sexual harassment, street harassment or molestation of women by men.

Eve-teasing is normally meant as teasing a girl or woman. Eve-teasing” refers to public sexual harassment or street harassment to a girl by a boy, when it turns into a serious issue. Eve-teasing is a very common term in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

Eve-Teasing in Bangladesh

Eve teasing is not a new problem in Bangladesh. It is a concern since many years. Almost every young girl is a victim of teasing, especially by the local young teaser. The most of the people may avoid it as a common matter with young generation. Yes, it is. But it is not every time. It can be tolerated until no girl is being attacked. But when it crosses the line, it will raise as a problem to us. It is surely a social problem. These days, many girls have committed suicide only to safe themselves from eve-teasing. That means, eve-teasing in Bangladesh has reached its maximum range. This is against the women rights without any doubt. Those who are involved with this kind of embarrass stuff can be named as a terrorist.

The teasers wait in schools, colleges or outside the house gate and as soon as girls walk passed by them they start teasing with ribald comments, smutty jokes, coarse laughter, sly whistles and even indecent exposure.

According to a daily newspaper, two girl committed suicide only in October 2010. In the last 7 months there 4 girls were killed and 42 were injured. Well, this is just a ruff measurement, which came across the people’s attention. There happened many occurrences li[1]ke this, which were not published in the newspaper. In most of the cases, the victims shy to exposes these incidents.

Eve teasers

As conscious citizens, we should initiate some effective measures to encounter this gender biased social menace. But prior to this, we need to unmask the causes of eve teasing. Who get involved in eve teasing and why? One statistics suggests, 32% of the eve teasers are students, 35% are anti-socials while 33% are middle-aged men.
So, the spectrum of eve teasers is very wide starting from teenagers to middle-aged men, either illiterate or educated. Psychologists and social scientists suggest eve teasing to be a result of the frustration suffered by a majority of youth. Disappointed by the unbecoming attitude of teachers and indifferent parents, they yearn for an outlet to vent their aggression and depression. Moreover, those who do not inherit good values involve in acts of sexual harassment.

Harassment styles

Eve teasers frequently undergo unnecessary touching, pushing, shoving, or vulgar comments on the public transports and streets, while on the other hand they are also frequently harassed at workplaces by male colleagues or bosses. These experiences severely hinder women’s productivity as well as mobility. In the long run, these women and girls, their families, and thus the whole society suffer.

A vulgar stare, a sly whistle, a wink, a well-timed clap, an unwarranted bump, a seemingly casual touch, a lingering look at a vulnerable time, the humming of a suggestive song, passing downright uncouth comments, cheap gestures, the display of an indecent snap or video, bikes flying close with hands stretched to feel around you, passing by in slow moving cars blasting loud music with many eyes inside measuring you up … all these are typical examples of such sexual harassment.

Causes behind the Eve Teasing

A large part of young generation has gone at the verge of astray now a days. Following might be the probable causes behind this suffocation situation for the whole civilization:

– Exotic Culture achieved from abroad (in is miserable that   we usually copy the bad things, not good things).

– Depression.

– Lack of social and family bondage.

– Unemployment, the stalkers’ brains are the Devil’s asylum.

– Negligence from and of the family.

– Bad associations.

– Dominating mentality over the physically weaker sex.

– Satellite and Mobile culture.

– Political involvement and abuse of power.

– Detachment from the family.

– Ignorant and defying of the law.

–          Lack of Respect upon the opposite sex.

Bad Impacts of Eve Teasing

Although the term ‘eve teasing’ originates from India, in recent times, this vice has spread over all the sub-continental countries. Perhaps, India’s scenario in this context is the worst and so it has initiated a number of steps to combat this social menace. Eve teasing was not that acute problem in Bangladesh till 1980s. However, from 1980s, when girls and women, especially at rural areas started going out for education and employment at a large scale, eve teasing with its sharp jaws has started to pollute our social fabric.

Eve teasing might seem harmless ‘fun’ to some, but gets the nerve of the victims. The severe impact of eve teasing is taking away the lives of young girls as Bangladesh has witnessed recently. Based on empirical study (2008) the Hunger Project has identified some impacts of eve teasing in the society of rural Bangladesh. These are:

a) Curtailed education: Sexual harassment increases girls’ drop-out rate from school. Parents concerned about their daughter’s honor or safety sometimes keep their daughters home and/or marry them off at an early age.

b) Early marriage: Girls who are teased or harassed are also pushed into marriage, before they are physically or mentally prepared.

d) Hindered development: Eve teasing contributes to maintaining the low status of women. It also hinders women in participating in the formal employment sector. As nearly half of the population of the country are women, for the economic development of the country their participation in employment is a must.

In a male dominant society like ours, the concept of ‘masculinity’ is usually equated with patriarchy. So, eve teasing can be viewed as a rite of passage for boys on their way to becoming men. Considering that sex is not the only motive, it would be reasonable to conclude the psychodynamics of eve teasing are closely associated with the issue of masculinity and the masculine agenda. Gender segregation from the childhood and the domination of the male members in a family over the female members contribute much to reinforcing the patriarchal model of masculinity in the society.

To the society, in general, being male signifies ‘powerful’, while the female is always a ‘second sex’ or weaker one.

Electronic media, especially some movies (both Hindi and Bengali) may be blamed for propagating eve teasing. Many movies depict scenes of teasing, showing this behavior as a way to win a woman’s heart. Others show this as a behavior for men indulged in some fun, at a woman’s expense of course.

Sometimes, women are blamed for ‘alluring’ eve teasers by their ‘seductive’ dresses or make-ups. But the reality is, the majority girls who become the prey of eve teasers are from rural areas and they are more conservative in wearing dresses compared with their counterparts in the urban areas. Even in Pakistan rural women in strict ‘purdah’ are not escaped from the harassment of the eve teasers. In a recently held discussion on eve teasing, alleged war criminal and the apex leader of Jamaat Motiur Rahman Nizami has blamed women as they go out at night time. What an audacity! Limiting the movement of womenfolk goes against the essence of our constitution as it has ensured both the genders indiscriminately to move freely.

In our country, yet now there is no strict law that can effectively curb eve teasing. Article 76 of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance 1976 of the Penal Code of 1860 affirms that any acts, conducts or verbal abuses that are used to disgrace women are punishable by law. However, these provisions seem minor compared with the crimes they commit.

Laws in Bangladesh

In post-independent Bangladesh the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance (DMPO) of 1976 first addressed the women teasing directly. Section 76 of the ordinance defines women teasing as, “willful and indecent exposure of one’s person in any street or public place within sight of, and in such manner as may be seen by, any woman, whether from within any house or[4] building or not, or willful pressing or obstructing any woman in a street or public place or insulting or annoying any woman by using indecent language or making indecent sounds, gestures, or remarks in any street or public place”. Women-teasing is punishable with a maximum one year of imprisonment, or with a maximum two thousand Taka fine, or with both.

This is for the first time, in Bangladesh, an act other than the Penal Code addressed the teasing offence against women. However, the term ‘eve teasing’ is still not used. Likewise, the other five metropolitan police acts/ordinances made similar provisions to penalize the offence of teasing women. However, these acts have no jurisdiction outside their respective metropolitan areas that makes the offence exclusively a local and urban phenomenon. Special laws penalizing the offence of teasing women having nationwide jurisdiction was yet to be passed.

In 2000 the government enacted tougher law to protect the vulnerable women and children of the country from various typical offences. The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 came down heavily on the oppressors of the women. This act, inter alia, defined the now-much-talked-about sexual torture and sexual harassment.

In section 10(1), the law defines sexual torture as, ” if a man touches the sexual organ or any other organ of a woman or of a child by any of his organs or by any other objects with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire, such act of the man will be termed as sexual torture”. This definition, in fact, includes the attempt of rape or outraging the modesty of a woman by actual physical contract. The law punishes the offender with rigorous imprisonment of minimum 3 and maximum 10 years and also an indefinite amount of fine.

In section 10(2), the law defines sexual harassment as, “if a man, with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire outrage a woman’s modesty or makes erotic gesture, such act of the man will amount to sexual harassment”. A rigorous imprisonment ranging from 2 to 7 years and additionally an indefinite amount of fine is rewarded for this offence. According to this definition sexual harassment is an offence that is committed by not coming with actual physical contract to the victim.

However, the section 10(2) was abrogated when the law was last amended in 2003. A new provision has been added under section 9(ka) of the present law that states, if a woman is forced to commit suicide as a direct consequence of somebody’s willful dishonor/sexual harassment/assault, then the offender will be liable to a maximum of ten years and a minimum of five years of imprisonment. The amendment actually denied the remedy of sexual harassment of non-contract nature. The new provision though punishes the offender, it will not happen until the victim is dead. A legal ridicule, indeed!

After the amendment of The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 in 2003, there remained no legal provisions in the country addressing directly the problem of sexual harassment. But, newspapers bring out heart rendering reports on sexual harassment every now and then. At this backdrop Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) filed a Writ Petition (No. 5916 of 2008) to the High Court Division. The Honorable Court, after examining the pros and cons of the problem issued their Judgment on 14.5.2009 giving the government an eleven-point directive which will fill up the legislative vacuum in the nature of law. In these directives the Court suggested a detailed definition of sexual harassment that included all other existing definitions of non-contract sexually connoting offences. It also incorporated the modern means of erotic insults against the women that are prevalent in our present age of information technology. However, though the ingredients of the offence of eve teasing are easily distinguishable from the order, the court did not use the term eve teasing. Actually, eve teasing, though commonly used and popularly understood a term in Bangladesh, it remains outside the explicit legal definition.

It is known that the government has already started the process of fulfilling the directives of the judgment. Complaint Committees have been formed in many institutions according to the decretive no-9 of the judgment. But framing appropriate law to combat the ever-growing eve teasing is yet to be done. Committees are being formed in the institutions to protect the women attached to the institutions and punishment will be imposed on the persons inside the institutions, but the street Romeos, who commit their offence outside the institutions are still remain outside expected legal net. So, the enactment of an appropriate law to address sexual harassment to cover the whole gamut of the problem is an unavoidable urgency.

Protect or Remove the Eve Teasing Problem

Eve teasing is an internal problem of Bangladesh. People need to know about the demerits of Eve teasing. Thus we need to raise our consciousness among the general people. The people also need to change their mind a bit. We always had a negative mind set for the girls. I don’t know why, but many of us are not ready to accept the equality between a girl and a boy. It has been advertising and making people belief that there are no difference between a girl and a boy. But the reality will disappoint you completely. There is a long distance between reality and what is publishing. Still we specially the boys are not ready to be [5]beaten by a girl. Even if a girl wins legally we deny it every time. That’s why I said we need to change our view on girls. We must see them as a human being. We must credit them if they deserve. We must believe a girl can do as much as a boy can do. To do so, to change our view, we need people to be informed about that. As the eve teasing problem is staring from schools, colleges or universities, we need to protest this problem from the educations institutes. We have to make sure these educational institutes are free from eve teasers.

Even just 2 months ago, Eve Teasing was a hot topic in Bangladesh. This problem paid the attention of Education Minister too. The daily Newspapers were publishing all these news as the headline those days. Committees were made, organizations were active. Even girls were out taking banners and protesting against the problem in roads or schools, which was very promising. It’s their problem and they should play the vital role. By saying that I did not mean boys have nothing to do. Overall, all of us should be protesting against this problem being in our own places. But if the girls become more attentive of their rights, this problem will be solved quickly.

We need to investigate if there were any political interferes too. I saw some RABs and Policemen are catching the teasers and punishing them instantly. This is a good move from the Govt. It is expected; the teaser will be embarrassed and keep himself away from Eve Teasing in rest of his life. At the same time, there should be some accurate and proper laws against these crimes. As we have already seen, this problem is causing suicide and killing, so we should pay extra attention on that issue.

At the same time, if we can remove this problem, we will get our young generation back in their business. The will think positively and will be interested to do positive works for the society. The girls also should not try to blackmail any boys with this matter.
A helpful mind from both Boys and Girls will help us to get rid of Eve Teasing problem.


Eve teasing is a wrong against the honor, dignity and self respect of a woman. It hurts her immensely. There is a strong need for combating this fast growing problem. Policing should be made more responsive to the needs of women, for instance with dedicated police cells and help lines for victims. State and public institutions should take more seriously the implementation of the directive on sexual harassment issued by the High Court last year — or face severe sanctions. Civil society organizations and women’s groups should be given more resources to support and counsel victims, and launch public awareness campaigns

By law, the government should make it mandatory that the youth found to be guilty in eve-teasing deaths should be dismissed from the school/college he is studying and also barred from joining any other school/college – even through correspondence. They should not be allowed to join the government services. Their Driving Licenses should also be cancelled permanently. No Bank or Insurance Company should entertain them for opening a Bank account or getting an Insurance Policy. They should not be issued passports, throughout their lives. All these punishments should be apart from rigorous imprisonment for a few years. In essence, they should be blacklisted at all levels and made a “zero’!

After considering all these I think we can conclude in this way that it’s only our combined actions and participation from everyone in the society can


[1] http://blogymate.com/post.aspx?BlogID=3168&t=EVE-TEASING-%E2%80%93-A-SOCIAL-CURSE

http://www.lawyersnjurists.com/best-law-firm/firm-lawyer-2/ 5th to 7th pR

http://www.lawyersnjurists.com/best-law-firm/firm-lawyer-2/ 2nd para

[2] ActionAid International Bangladesh – National study on VAGS by Suchi Karim
• Eve teasing: A punishable offence by Shadeka Jahan
• United Nations Statistics Division statistics