Law Experts In Bangladesh

Table of Contents

Contents                                                                                           Page

Introduction 1


  • Law of ‘eve teasing’ in Bangladesh                                                                            3
  • Present conditions of ‘eve teasing’ in Bangladesh                                                 5
  • Rights that are provided to the women of Bangladesh as respective citizens       6
  • Reasons and impacts for the recognition of “eve teasing” in Bangladesh             7
  • Some of the solutions regarding “eve teasing”                                                      8

Conclusions 9


Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India and sometimes PakistanBangladesh and Nepal for public sexual harassmentstreet harassment or molestation of women by men, with eve being a reference to the biblical Eve. Eve teasing has been considered as a problem related to delinquency in youth. It is a form of sexual aggression that ranges in severity from sexually suggestive remarks, brushing in public places, catcalls, to outright groping. [1]

According to the circumstances women should be empowered to fight back due to end this evil act called ‘eve teasing’, but keeping in mind that this empowerment might result in misuse. There are many possible ways of ‘eve teasing’ that women are regularly facing in their daily activities[2] and now it’s high time to stand up against it by carrying the empowerment to fight back, then only this evil will be weeded out. There are also many precautions that women should be aware of and use them in a right way[3]. Women must also follow some of the facts that are necessary for their wellbeing and keeping them safe. This might include like walking in well-lit and frequented areas[4], being street smart[5], dressing appropriately[6], knowing the enemy[7], avoiding potential harassers[8] and travelling with a male escort[9].


Law of “eve teasing” in Bangladesh

Bangladesh with micro-credit operations has improved the economic condition and social rank of women massively even in rural areas. It has shown the world how a Muslim society can effectively deal with issues of gender discrimination. Women have led both the country and the two main parties for the past 15years[10].

Government has designated June 13th as “eve teasing” protection day. But discriminatory treatment and violence against women has remained widespread across the country. Teasing and staring at women is common on all public places and buses. Teasing, odd gestures and verbal abuses are considered as sexual harassment in many developed societies, however in our society this is seen as ‘acceptable.

State intervention towards preventing aggression against women has been inadequate till now. As eve teasing does not involve any physical harassment the law refuses to recognize it as a cruel act.  Laws are there but enforcement is weak.  Moreover, the legal process to fight gender-based violence is complicated. In Women and Children “Repression and Prevention Act 2000 an excellent provision was included in section article 10 that teasing of women like making obscene comments or gestures was an offence covered by it providing for up to seven years of simple imprisonment or meticulous imprisonment for two years”. But the act was amended in 2003 where no one could be charged with sexual abuse of a woman until it is physical. And thus those who bother/tease women in public places such as streets, shopping places and buses can no longer be tied under this law. Defending the amendment, the government has said the provision had been abused to harass rivals. The change has come when harassment of women has increased in Bangladesh. But one can enforce her right under section 509 of the Penal code where it is clearly stated that if “anybody intending to insult the modesty of any women, utters any word, make any sound or gesture or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such women, or intrudes upon the privacy of such women, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.”

Not only that, in Metropolitan Police Ordinances, 1976 it is clearly described that whoever willfully and indecently exposes himself 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 building or not, or willfully obstructs any woman in a street or public place or insults or annoys any woman by using indecent language or making indecent sounds, gestures, or remarks in any street or public place, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year , or with fine which may extend to two thousand taka, or with both.

Although the government has signed different international conventions and introduced special laws to protect women and children, it has not succeeded in providing adequate security to women. It is possible to stop this harassment only if the law is enforced on the perpetrators. Men’s education, sensitivity, cooperation, respect and ethics can help change the scenario.

Present conditions of ‘eve teasing’ in Bangladesh

Eve teasing is rising both in number, recklessness and ferocity. Parents and guardians are passing days in great anxiety for the safety and well-being of the young women under their charge. Civilized life and living in the country is being challenged by the depraved and brutal behavior of eve teasing.[11]

Eve teasing 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. Girls who are teased or harassed are also pushed into marriage, before they are physically or mentally prepared.[12]

Eve teasing also 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.[13]

How the incidents of Eve-teasing have become alarming can be gleaned only from counting the number of such incidents in the recent days and keeping a tally over a longer period. This would show the real extent of the spread of such crimes. All such incidents, on a greater scale than ever before, do only reveal police’s gross underperformance in these matters. Eve-teasers do continue to oppress their victims at various places.[14]

Rights that are provided to the women of Bangladesh as respective citizens[15]

Reasons and impacts for the recognition of “eve teasing” in Bangladesh

The main reason behind the increasing numbers of cases on eve teasing is the down gradation of our cultural outlook towards female. The morale and mentality of the young people have changed. [16]

Our education has no moral stint, our religious exercises become ritualistic, society is becoming more materialistic and our politics is not bound by ethics.

Another reason is the old laws existing over eve-teasing. First of all, the corruption doesn’t catch the real culprits, with they being let off on may be a small favor or money. Even if they are caught, laws don’t have stringent punishments for them. There are enough loopholes to go scot-free. There have been very few convictions in such cases. Lack of education is also a contributing factor to such a menace. Illiterate and uneducated people consider this as their birthright and see nothing wrong in it. They are unaware of the trauma of the girl who faces such harassment. But one wonders then what happens in the metro cities, good educational institutions etc. Incidents in such places make people wonder whether education contributes to controlling such a problem.[17]

The problem of eve teasing is closely connected with gender issue as well. In a male dominated society like ours, the boys think themselves more powerful than their girl counterparts. They are physically strong by natural builds and mentally emboldened by everyone. They think they can propose a girl and if she rejects he can abuse her verbally and physically. He may throw acid to her or threaten to kidnap rape and kill her. This audacity comes from the gender imbalance in society. Society endows the male with greater role and the female with smaller role, which create a bias towards men, often leading to the violation of rights of the weaker sex.[18]

Some of the solutions regarding “eve teasing”[19]

The courts can also provide a remedy in the form of injunction and detention also. This would force the eve teasers to at least think thrice before they indulge in such Torts and its basic guiding principle of Ibi Jus Ubi Remedia i.e. where there is a violation of a legal right, there has to be some relief, compensation and remedy for the victim.[20] Remedies can be in the following forms like public humiliation[21], monetary compensation[22], Injunction [23] and detention[24].


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. Hence, I strongly believe and hold that there should be an immediate provision for a strong punishment for eve teasers.

In a country like Bangladesh where the prime minister, foreign minister, home minister, agriculture minister, deputy leader of the House and the leader of the opposition are female, it is very hard to believe that in that country women and girls cannot walk on the streets, use public transport, or go to school, shops, parks or other public places without often being ogled, taunted, harassed, humiliated, sexually molested, groped and assaulted and in some cases, attacked with acid, abducted and raped.[25]

From the above research and based on the present scenario, it cannot be concluded that the law against eve teasing is not that much effective in Bangladesh.[26]

When the government is emphasizing heavily to prevent eve teasing, how can such an incident take place; from where the stalkers are getting this courage? The possible answer to this question might be the failure of our law enforcement agencies and the effectiveness of the law itself. It’s now high time for government to take some serious action against eve teasing and implement the law to protect women before it’s out of control. My question is how many more life will have to be given away to stop eve teasing? This type of law in our country is only kept as an ornament. There is no implementation of the law and people are not even made aware of consequences.

Thus it is our duty and we average people in the country should also take the responsibility to change our society and pass all the positive lessons to the people who lack in it. At the end, we should know to respectful women. Then only we would be on the lines of happiness, prosperity and success.

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[1] Eve teasing sometimes is referred to with a coy suggestion of innocent fun, making it appear innocuous with no resulting liability on the part of the perpetrator. Many feminists and voluntary organizations have suggested that the expression be replaced by a more appropriate term. According to them, considering the semantic roots of the term in Indian English, eve-teasing refers to the temptress nature of Eve, placing responsibility on the woman as a tease, as though the aggressive response of the males was normal rather than criminal. Sexual harassment of women in public places is named and culturally constructed in India as “eve teasing”, are specifically Indian-English term. The semantic roots of the term, “eve” as temptresses being “teased” normalizes and trivializes the issues. While there are specific laws that can be used in cases of sexual harassment, most of them have been recognized as being inadequate and based on outdated notions of women’s propriety. For instances, Section 509 IPC criminalizes any “word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a women” and Section 354 IPC criminalizes “assault or criminal force to a women with the intention to outrage her modesty”.  In addition, Section 209, IPC criminalizes “obscene act and song”. This provisions of the IPC date back to the 19th century, and feminists have argued that they are wholly inadequate in defining the experiences of women (Agnes 1992, 19-32). Further, while “eve teasing” is a social construction that devalues women experiences and is not a legal offence, it is accepted and interpreted by the police as valid in naming and understanding cases of sexual assault. Therefore in the 1994 Crimes Against Women Report, Section 354 is named “molestation/eve teasing “ (cited in Bexi 2001), pointing to the slippages between the categories of eve teasing, outraging women’s modesty and harassment in official  discourses.

[2] Examples of some harassment are like stepping on the street in the morning and jump out of skin as a car hurtles towards and swerves just before smashing to a pulp. The driver laughs evilly and having nothing to do just cursing him under breath as passing a group of men standing at the corner, who burst into passing irrelevant comments. Pretending not to hear and get into an auto rickshaw. Many other ways like making comments while travelling in the bus. Although there are reserved sits in the buses for women where men occupies the sits and disrespectfully shows their attitudes to release the sits. When the buses are crowded men usually tries to slip over to the women intentionally while the buses are accelerating or breaking. Auto rickshaw driver adjusts rear view mirror to get a better look over the women’s. When there are women inside a vehicles or walking side the streets, they gets harassed by men like sitting on a scooter peeking into the ladies. In some cases men also follows around for a few minutes staring lecherously and giggling excitedly till the women leaves, or even sometimes a cyclist comes out of nowhere and slaps you on butt and cycles off.

[3] Precautions might include like fighting back, carrying some stuffs like spray, pocket knives, pins that might turn out to be useful while being harassed but this should be used in the right way like it doesn’t mean to sock offender in the face – no matter how tempting it may be. Ladies should have the confidence to look at the offender in the face and speak up as loud as possible. The crowd will automatically gather and would be there to help.

[4] It is better for young women, not to walk through a dark and lonely street because this is nothing less than inviting trouble. In a well lit area it would be possible to see and avoid potential offenders.
[5]While walking in a street should avoid daydreaming and looking lost. Instead have to look confident.

[6] For any girl or women, they must know what to dress according to the area. Like if it is planned that you will be staying in the crowded area don’t wear a mini skirt or any other exposing dresses though it has been seen that women wearing salwar kameezes get harassed as well.
[7] Is the guy across the street waiting for you to pass by? Does he look like he’s out for some ‘fun’? Is he huddled with other men and just hanging out, doing nothing in particular? Then it’s best to avoid the whole situation.
[8] If you see a group of men hanging out, or a man who’s making eye contact with you and trying to get your attention, take a detour. Better safe than sorry.
[9] Though this may not always be possible, try and work out some arrangement where you have a male escort. Eve-teasers by and large target women who are without a male escort.

[10] Our country has achieved notable results in education and economic opportunities for women. In addition, large numbers of women sit on Bangladesh’s supreme courts and parliaments. Bangladesh was one of the first developing countries to establish a Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 1978. The Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees equal rights to all citizens. The importance of women as an important human resource has been recognized by the Constitution of Bangladesh and accorded equality to women.

[11] Figures released by the Ain-O-Salish Kendra (ASK) human rights organization reveal that 62% of the school girls become victims of eve teasing. According to the information of “Mohila Porishad” eve teasing has increase by 39.6% compared to the last year.

[12] 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 ‘pardah’ 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 has blamed women as they go out at night time.

[13] Limiting the movement of womenfolk go against the essence of our constitution as it has ensured both the genders indiscriminately to move freely. 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.

[14] Cases of eve teasing are shooting up alarmingly. Apart from suicide, one statistics has revealed that during January-July 2010 period only, about 13,000 women became victims of eve teasing of different forms across the country. This figure counted only the reported cases. Many occurrences remain unreported as the majority of the victims of eve teasing prefer to ignore this out of fear or not to be ‘disgraced’ or part of a social ‘gossip’. The situation has become so alarming that, in general, it can be argued that at present no girl has been spared from being a victim of eve teasing in one from to another.

[15] Amongst all these rights, none of them a woman actually has or exercises. They are harassed, annoyed, tortured and killed without any valid reason. Our country is so inefficient in providing the rights to women and giving them justice. It is the sole responsibility of the government to make sure women are fully aware of their rights and get justice in each and every step of their life.

Recently the government of Bangladesh gave power to the assistant magistrate to stop eve teasing. On November 10, 2010 prothom-alo newspaper it was declared that now the eve teasing judgment will be passed on mobile court. The teaser will be punished on the spot with maximum 1 year of imprisonment or will have to pay fine or both. The section 509 has been included in the mobile court. Using this section the magistrate can declare judgment on the spot. This law will help to stop eve teasing and will create among the stalkers.

[16] Our culture is fast losing its identity and our media is more to please the teens than to depict the reality and truth of life. As female gender is considered the fairer and the weaker sex, they are considered more vulnerable. Especially in places like us which is having a male-dominated society. It is in fact a way of showing male’s superiority over females. Also, being a suppressed lot, females generally don’t always raise their voices against such harassment, which makes the males bolder in their approaches. Due to social stigma for a girl, less and less cases are reported.

[17] In extreme cases, vulgarity makes the boys perverted. Apart from obscenity in films, it may be found in websites. Information technology has in fact intensified the crisis. The teenagers may go to a cyber café and peep into the secrets of male-female relationship. They are driven by their curiosity to explore the hitherto unknown territory and get easily aroused. They witness with awe and admiration the physicality of love. They cannot control themselves any more. Primarily they feel shy but soon they overcome their shyness to the way of mischief. They become adults prematurely. A set of new eyes are opened, burning with new desire. They can hardly suppress the inner stirring.

[18] 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.

[19] Eve teasing is neither a breach of contract nor a breach of trust. It is an encroachment on a woman’s right and her dignity. Eve teasing is an unexpected incident. There is no question of a contract in it. Thus, its remedy is unliquidated damages which are to be decided by the courts according to the gravity of the injury caused.

[20] Eve teasing is a civil wrong. It is an unlawful infringement of the victim’s legal rights. So according to the principle of Ibi Jus Ubi Remedia there should be a remedy for the victim in the cases of eve teasing. This part is very important for many reasons. Firstly, it gives relief to the victim as she can recover the loss caused to her. Secondly, it gives the victim immense satisfaction to see the eve teaser punished and admonished. She develops a sense of satisfaction, happiness and regains her confidence and self esteem. Thirdly, it gives a strict warning to the eve teasers so that they do not indulge in this heinous practice. It, thus, strongly condemns the practice of eve teasing.

[21] The eve teasers should be humiliated public ally so as to make them aware and feel guilty of the shameful practice that they indulged in. People should socially boycott them as to make them realize their mistake. Their names should be published in the newspapers describing their shameful act in detail so as to make them feel guilty and realize their mistake.

[22] Damages should be awarded to the victim in terms of money. It should be big money. It will recover the loss that she must have suffered and also will discourage men from involving in eve teasing.

[23]The court can also ask the eve teasers to strictly abstain from indulging in eve teasing in case of repeated acts of similar kind.

[24] The court could also arrest a person for eve teasing under article 57, cpc. This would further discourage people from eve teasing.

[25] The situation is very frightening. The suicide of 20 girls within 1 year is an alarming sign of the times. If it is not controlled, the women can no longer live in society with any dignity. Government is recently taking some steps but proper implementation of those steps is required. Framing appropriate law to combat the ever-growing eve teasing is yet to be done. Committees are being formed in the institutions to protects 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 eve teasing to cover the whole gamut of the problem is an unavoidable urgency. We have to mend up the society we inhabit infusing more civilized norms, preaching through education and collective exercise in practical life. After doing all of this we can expect significant decrease in the number of suicides women are committing because of eve teasing.

[26]Every day there is some news regarding eve teasing. Almost nine people got killed for talking against eve teasing. The tragic story of 13-year-old Nashfia Akhand Pinky – known as Pinky – shows just how damaging “Eve teasing” can be. On her way to school, she was stalked by her 22-year-old male neighbor. She could not tolerate it; so she hanged herself with a sari scarf tied to a ceiling fan in her drawing room.


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