What We Do
From the early stages of their lives, Bangladeshi women are taught to be dependent on and submissive to men. They are kept ignorant of their basic human rights. This limits not only their education but their choices in terms of marriage, career aspirations, personal safety and seemingly simple things such as travelling between towns and villages or abroad.
It is through this ignorance that women are made to believe that they are being 'disobedient' if they are economically independent, can not walk alone because it is not safe, can not work long hours as it will compromise their household duties. And where the home should be her haven, a woman is not safe as violence is most often carried out by someone she knows - parent, brother, husband, in-law, boyfriend.
We say here in Bangladesh that it is like the duck and chicken. Men are like ducks, whatever they do when they come out of the water they are dry. Whereas, women are like chickens, when they come out of the water they are completely drenched. They are made to view themselves as weaker and feeble. Domestic violence impacts women's ability to think their own thoughts and speak their minds. And the circle of oppression and violence continues.
On paper, we have the laws to protect women from abuse. However, actual cases of abuse are generally regarded as a private issue. Law enforcers either turn a 'blind eye' or even worse, side with the perpetrator. Our legal system fails our women.
Stories of females killing themselves after psychological torture and sexual harassment are becoming more common but we know that most stories are not reported for fear of retribution attacks or shame brought on the reputation of families.
Bangladeshi girls and women have limited scope for their voices to be heard. Most are not aware of their rights and where to find information and support.
This is why we do what we do. Since 2004 PHREB has worked with young people educating them about their rights as human beings. We do this in the hope that future generations will put a stop to the cycle of violence.