One-third of unmarried girls faced sexual harassment

| Updated: November 25, 2022 09:30:32

One-third of unmarried girls faced sexual harassment

One-third of unmarried girls in Bangladesh faced sexual harassment at least once in the last 12 months, said a survey on Thursday.

This proportion was nearly one-fifth among never-married girls, it added.

Shusmita Khan, knowledge management and communication specialist, USA-led Data for Impact (D4), presented the survey at an event held in Dhaka.

She highlighted the fact that one-fifth of ever-married and unmarried females and one-quarter of unmarried males experienced physical violence at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey.

While husbands (77 per cent) are the top perpetrator of physical violence for married females, mothers (33 per cent) are the top perpetrator of physical violence for unmarried females, the survey added.

In the case of verbal or social bullying, one-third of all adolescents faced verbal or social bullying at least once, and males were more likely to have faced verbal or social bullying than females.

Sexual harassment is most often experienced on the road: 77 per cent among married adolescents and 88 per cent among unmarried adolescents.

The survey also showed that one in five unmarried females experience sexual harassment at schools and one in eight married females experience sexual harassment at home.

The survey was presented at the inauguration of a 16-day campaign on Thursday to end violence against women and girls and to raise awareness and promote engagement with the theme 'Know Better, Act Better'.

AdSEARCH initiated the campaign, icddr,b, Global Affairs Canada in partnership with USAID funded Research for Decision Makers (RDM) Activity and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA-led Data for Impact (D4).

Icddr,b's Senior Director of the Maternal and Child Health Division (MCHD), Dr Shams El Arifeen delivered the welcome address, and Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, executive director, delivered the opening remark and emphasised the importance of showing respect to others to prevent gender-based violence.

The 16-day activism began with a scientific seminar titled "Decoding Gender-Based Violence: Understanding the Problem, Identifying the Solution," where young researchers from icddr,b presented key findings from ‘The Lancet Series’ on violence against women and girls.

They informed that millions of women and girls worldwide experience violence, which takes many forms, including intimate physical and sexual partner violence, child and forced marriage, sex trafficking, and rape.

The Lancet Series shows that such abuse is preventable.

Four presentations based on five papers in The Lancet covered advocating evidence for interventions, discussing the vital role of the health sector in care and prevention, showing the need for men and women to be involved in effective programmes, providing practical lessons from experience in other countries, and presenting a call for action with key recommendations and indicators to track progress.

The second phase of the evidence-sharing session focused on the prevalence of violence and harassment among Bangladeshi adolescents based on the Bangladesh Adolescent Health and Wellbeing 2019-20 undertaken by the National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT) and supported by icddr,b.

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