Conflict Resolution In Bangladesh

Q. Government has recently passed a law against Eve Teasing. How much the law is effective for a developing country like Bangladesh?


We are living in the 21st century today, but still the mindset of people has not changed. Women are discriminated and teased. Still today, women are not safe outside home. Whenever a girl goes out to school or any other places, her parents worry until her daughter returns home safe and sound. The mode for which women cannot live or move peacefully is Eve Teasing. Eve teasing is a violation of a woman’s basic right to live in dignity. Women have always been subject to eve teasing and the trend unfortunately, continues to grow. The cases relating to eve teasing, sexual harassment, rape, molestation etc are on all time high. When it comes to eve teasing, no matter what are the educational background, caste, complexion and race of women, many of them have gone through these unpleasant experiences[1]. Study shows, almost 90 percent of college going girls have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at different point of time[2]. Unfortunately, not many women register complaints of eve teasing or harassment because of the fear of humiliation and public exposure. Many women who were victim of sexual harassment commit suicide because of social disclosure. The society is not kind to the victims. The problem here is of mindset. Even if the laws are there, they are not effective and most of the people are not aware of it. It is not possible for every victim to stand in the court of law and answer uncomfortable questions. In many cases, parents themselves ask their daughters to forget about the incident as it can cause them public shame and embarrassment.

However, the efforts taken by different NGOs, media and social welfare organizations to trying to educate people about the grave consequences of eve teasing are commendable. The focus here is on changing the mindset of male community and respecting the women. The attitude towards women needs to be changed, only then we can expect gender equality in the real sense. This essay will discuss the effectiveness of Eve teasing law in Bangladesh and in neighboring country India.

2. Eve Teasing Problem

Eve teasing is complex problem and which requires more attention. The problem of eve teasing took its roots during the 60s when women had started to go out for schools, colleges and jobs. Eve teasing keeps developing in different forms: right from a flirtatious comment to street harassment and molestation, it can turn disastrous for women. No amounts of efforts and policies have proved to be particularly effective against this serious problem. Eve teasing is a complex social problem that will not vanish until the mindset is changed. Apart from law, it is also about education and respecting women.

Critics argue that laws which should prohibit sexual harassment are so poorly designed that victims get practically no help from the law enforcement agencies. Families of the victims are left feeling hopeless and helpless. “Some victims find suicide to the only avenue that enables them to escape this social pandemic,” said Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain-O-Shalish Kendra (ASK)[3]. The present situation is very alarming. The suicides of 14 girls are an alarming sign of the times. If it is not controlled now, we women can no longer live in society with any self-respect.

Bangladesh police chief Nur Mohammad said that Pinky’s case – and others like them – was a cause for serious concern[4]. He said that harassment is a problem that urgently needed to be sorted out. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said female students and female teachers are not safe on streets or in schools[5].

Those who are teased do not like to go to school and sometimes guardians do not allow them to go to school for their safety concern. So, the drop-out rate of female students in many schools is increasing. Another negative sign of the problem is the tendency of parents to push underage daughters into early marriages so that they can escape from eve teasing. Parents think that if their daughter has a husband, they can be saved from eve teasing; but this is not actually true. Teasers do not tease by seeing whether a girl is married or not.

3. Bangladesh students protest against uncontrolled ‘eve teasing, sexual harassment of women[6].


A large number of school and college students held a rally in Dhaka on Nov 03, to protest against ‘eve teasing’ and the sexual harassment of women[7]. The rally was the latest in a series of protests followed by a number of suicides and killings involving women subjected to harassment. The protestors have urged the Bangladesh government to take proper steps to control sexual harassment and provide better protection for women. We need tougher legislation and the law should be implemented properly to stop this nuisance. Young girls often face oral abuse, taunts and stalkers, and watchers are forcibly silenced. Those harassing them are often their school friends or men in the street. According to activists, eve teasing and sexual harassment has led to the deaths of more than 24 people since the beginning of 2010 and most of them are women. In recent days, some of the people who have spoken out against eve teasing have been murdered. The most recent is the case of Champa Rani Bhowmik, who had been killed by a stalker. In last nine months, nine males lost their lives for standing up against the stalkers

Part-(b) Forging social resistance against eve-teasing[8]

Barendra Unnayan Forum (BUF), a network for promoting gender equality, good governance and human rights, organized the hour-long human chain at Saheb Bazar on Nov 2nd, 2010 aimed at creating mass awareness to prevent the emergent trend of eve teasing.

BUF speakers emphasized the need for framing a strict law to stop stalking and building up united battle against stalkers and urged the people to be respectful to women and girls in and outside the houses. Terming the eve-teasing as one of the major social crimes and also harmful to the human rights of women, BUF emphasized the need for building a social commitment against the crime. Every person of society will have to come forward to fight against this social threat.

4. Eve Teasing law 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 15 years. In addition, large numbers of women sit on Bangladesh’s supreme courts and parliaments. Our country has achieved notable results in education and economic opportunities for women. Bangladesh was one of the first developing countries to establish a Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 1978[9]. 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[10].
Government has designated June 13 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.’[11](??!!!!)

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”[12]. But the act was amended in 2003 where no one could be charged with sexual abuse of a woman until it is physical[13]. 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[14]. 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[15].”

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[16].

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[17]. Men’s education, sensitivity, cooperation, respect and ethics can help change the scenario.

As citizens, women have the right to enjoy the following fundamental rights as provided by the Bangladesh Constitution[18]:

·        No discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

·        Equality of opportunity in public employment *right to protection of law

·        Protection of right to life and personal liberty

·        Prohibition of forced labor

·        Safeguards as to arrest and detention

·        Protection in respect of trial and punishment

·        Freedom of movement, assembly, association, thought and conscience, speech, profession, occupation and religion

·        Right to property

·        Protection of home and correspondence

·        Enforcement of fundamental rights through courts of law

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[19]. 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.

5. Laws Against Eve Teasing in India

Indian law recognizes eve teasing as sexual harassment which is considered as a criminal activity. Indian law does not mention the term ‘eve teasing’. In recent times, the laws have been made inflexible so that victim could take recourse under the law. Unpleasant gestures, recitation or remarks can take the teaser into prison for a maximum period of three months[20]. Moreover, even showing pornographic materials, pictures, books etc to a girl can cause two years of thorough imprisonment along with fine of Rs. 2000. Government and administration has taken steps like deploying plain clothed cops and special units like anti Romeo squads to limit the nuisance. Some of the state governments have even made eve teasing a non-bailable offence[21].

The death of a female student, Sarika Shah, in Chennai in 1998, caused by Eve-teasing, brought some tough laws to offset the problem in South India After this case, there has been about half-a-dozen reports of suicide that have been certified to pressures caused by eve teasing. In 2007, an eve-teasing resulted in the death of Pearl Gupta, a college student in Delhi[22].

The Indian Penal Code is, even today, the basis of subjective criminal laws in the subcontinent including Bangladesh. Numerous laws and supporting laws have been enacted defining and punishing newly-arose unwelcome human behaviors, and, the process is still on, but the Macaulay framed Indian Penal Code still guides the jurisprudence of this subcontinent[23].

Eve teasing is particularly a problem in India, where in every 26 minutes a woman is mistreated and every 34 minutes a woman is raped.  New Delhi is now the “rape capital” of South Asia[24]. Eve-teasing is such a chronic practice that signs actually to prohibit it, the same way a sign might prohibit- drinking in public, and commercials warn against it.

While legislation exists in theory to discourage eve teasers, it really does little more than victim-blame. The Indian Penal Code characterizes any act which “insults” or “outrages” a woman’s modesty are punishable by law (the maximum offense being a year in jail)[25]. Of course, this leaves the door wide open to point the finger at any woman not modest enough to fall under the law’s protection. Rape and harassment victims are frequently blamed for walking alone, wearing indecent clothing, or having male companions. A case in point: “Indian authorities recently blamed the rape of a 9-year-old girl in Goa on western tourists’ bikinis”[26].

Blank Noise[27] is an Indian community and public art project which aims to fight against eve-teasing. The group stages public protests and performances, such as collecting the stories of sexual harassment victims and posting them in public places. The organization encourages women to report harassment and to share their stories in an effort to fight against the bureaucratic, political and social roasting of eve-teasing.

6. Suggested reasons for the recognition of eve teasing in Bangladesh:

  • Some in society posses an extremely restricted mentality and also tend to be overly conservative on sexuality and thus cannot mix with women freely. This type of mentality also provoke eve teasing sometimes. Some boys argue that at times girls dress in a stimulating manner that they themselves draw male’s attention[28]..
  • People are not much educated which is also a reason for eve teasing.
  • Some also feel that if children are not brought up on the light of religion and have a free exposure to modern fashion, they are bound to lose way of seriousness and moral values. Thus they consider eve teasing as fun not offence.
  • Lack of law enforcement agencies’ awareness is also a reason for eve teasing as they are not serious about this matter.
  • The problem also lies with the conservative set up of the society. Education, family rearing and way of living are some of the factors that influence everybody’s mind. It is shown that if a girl is too smart and fashionable, boys tend to do such activities often out of frustration. Undue limitations and isolation from girls also give birth to sexual dissatisfaction and thus sort of aggression.


  • Protecting and establishing human rights, strengthening rural governance and ensuring gender parity could be the effective tools for eliminating the social curse.
  • Only the law enforcing agencies or any single organization is not capable to combat the crimes but a determined effort is a must in this regard.
  • Education system must be deliberated in a way as to promote positive relationship between girls and boys, especially at a younger age.
  • Parents’ role is very significant. They should keep their children away from bad influences. Parents must educate their children ‘what to’ or ‘what not to’ do/watch. They should adopt friendly relations with their children rather than being harsh with them.
  • Teachers must play their role to repeat moral teachings in the young minds in a more rational and modern way.
  • The girl should not ignore the teasing of eve teasers and should not bother about what people would say or think of her if she gives objection to such activities. They should protest strongly against such boys otherwise nobody can do anything against such eve teasers[29]. Girls should not lose courage in this regard.
  • Family and the neighborhood must support a girl in this regard.

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. Every day there is some news regarding eve teasing. Almost nine people got killed for talking against eve teasing. Champa Rani Bhowmik wanted to save her daughter from the stalkers but got killed without getting any justice. 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.


  • Puri J., (1999) Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India: Narratives of Gender and Sexuality, Published by Routledge, p-87.

  • Natarajan M., (2008) Women Police in a Changing Society: Back Door to Equality, Published by Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

  • Roy A., (2003) Human Rights of women, published by: Rajat publications, p-230.

  • Mahtab N., (2007), Women in Bangladesh, published by: A H development.

  • BBC, 2010, [online, retrieved on 02/11/10] available at:

  • Prothom-alo, November 10, 2010

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[1] See,

[2] See,

[3] See,

[4] 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  See,

[5] See,

[6] See,

[7] See,

[8] See,

[9] See,

[10] See,

[11] See,

[12] See,

[13] See,

[14] See,

[15] See,

[16] See,

[17] See,

[18] See, Ashin Roy, (2003) Human rights of Women, p-260

[19] See, prothom-alo, November 10, 2010


[21] See,

[22] See, Women Police in a Changing Society,p-54

[23] See,

[24] See,

[25] See,

[26] See,

[27] See,

[28] See,



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