The women, facing violence by their husbands/inmates, die many times before their death! Moreover, the rate of violence against Bangladeshi women in abroad is beyond the imagination. In most cases victims are helpless there, for many reasons as in foreign land. I have tried to portray a simple picture of violence against Bangladeshi women in abroad to realise how endless inhumane lives they pass, and even killed!
Most of the victim told me that, before wedding , the parents or guardians are unable to collect enough information about the grooms staying abroad. Consequently, they have to believe the grooms no matter how false information they give. But after marriage, when the fate of women starts burning, nothing can be done, but have to accept unless the lives of women turn into ashes. Sometimes greed of being migrants of family members with the help of migrant husbands and other causes makes some parents and guardians more interested to catch Bangladeshi grooms in abroad.
I am certain that many of you know more or less about the violence against Bangladeshi women in abroad. Yet I like to present here one of the touchy case studies of some sufferer and severely injured women to realise the reality and state of grave inhumanity, so that if we can do something needed in favour of them in future.
Koli (not her real name) was an educated girl and had an affair with a person in Dhaka. Both she and her lover were planning to marry on upcoming Valentine’s Day. But Koli’s parents got a proposal through a matchmaker that there is a Bangladeshi ‘good’ groom, have been staying in Sweden for a few years. If they wed Koli with that groom, no dowry or gift is needed rather the groom will manage the cost of wedding. In addition, both Koli and her family members will be able to settle in Sweden. Very lucrative proposal! Koli’s parents agreed and the wedding was done within five days without taking consent from Koli.
Koli unwillingly went Sweden with her husband. After going there within a few days she discovered that her husband drinks wine regularly, have realtion with other women and tortures mentally and physically Koli if she protests. Her husband kept her confined at the residence, and she was not allowed to go outside or contact any one.
Even she could not contact her parents in Bangladesh, because she was not allowed to touch her husband’s mobile phone and talk with any one. Koli could do nothing, but cried like a bird confined in a cage! She became sick due to torture and after suffering a few days, she was taken to a doctor by her husband unwillingly. She kept the fact hidden of torturing by her husband, and told the doctor that she got the marks of injuries in her body due to fall down at the bathroom.
After seven months Koli felt that she was pregnant. Getting the news, her husband kicked at her belly, bleeding started and the embryo was killed. This is just one of the very simple stories of violence I mentioned. There are many women who have been being tortured more dangerously by their husbands; became disabled, passing lives in shelter centres, unable to continue legal action against the husbands because they fear of more torture. Some husbands have one more wives, took from Bangladesh; even some wives are denied their rights to the children.
Some husbands make fabricated story in favour of them before wedding, but in the practical field it is found that some husbands even unemployed in abroad and were sentenced to imprisonment for drug addiction and other unlawful activities. Some husbands torture their wives in the streets, parks, shopping malls and other places. Evidence shows that violence against Bangladeshi women exists in many countries, and some women have been killed by their husbands. In addition, some persons take women in abroad by the name of ‘marriage’, sale them in the brothel or deal with sex trade there forcibly against the will of those women.
Some sufferer women suggested to the parents of Bangladeshi women not to become agree instantly to wed their daughters with the grooms live in abroad. Rather the parents must take some time to know details about the grooms as more as possible through different sources. The Bengali community in abroad, our embassies in different countries, and some other migrants should play helpful role in this regard.
Though there is no enough data on the violence against Bangladeshi women in abroad, so necessary support, capacity-building and research must conduct to address the isssue and save lives of Bangladeshi women in abroad. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates in 2002 that around 20-70% of abused women around the world never told another person about the abuse until being interviewed for a study by WHO.
Amnesty International mentioned that around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Every year, violence in the home and the community devastates the lives of millions of women. Violence against women is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women equal rights with men.
Amnesty added that there is an unbroken spectrum of violence that women face at the hands of people who exert control over them. States have the obligation to prevent, protect against, and punish violence against women whether perpetrated by private or public actors. States have a responsibility to uphold standards of due diligence and take steps to fulfill their responsibility to protect individuals from human rights abuses, the report concludes.
Experts suggested to ensure equality: non-violent relationship with women and men thorugh:
• Fairness and negotiation;
• Honesty and accountability;
• Respect to the women;
• Trust and support;
• Shared responsibility;
• Positive parenting;
• Non-threatening behaviour;
• Economic partnership.
One question always comes in my mind that physically the same red blood we men and women carry by born, same rights we have in the constitution, but why we can not be equal as human beings through women’s empowerment, establishing gender equity and equality?
I have been very glad and hopeful to learn that three committed and dedicated human rights, peace and democracy women activists of the world received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize this year. Those brilliant and scholar women include: Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Leymah Gbowee; from Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. I salute and congratulate them for being the honourees. And I trust that they will make more changes in the world on human rights, especially of women, peace and democracy.
Parvez Babul a journalist and columnist in Bangladesh. Also the author of two books: 1) Women’s empowerment, food security and climate change (2010), 2) Violence against women and human rights (2011). Email to contact: email@example.com