Special law needed for rapes

Bahauddin Imran
Published : 00:07, Dec 06, 2019 | Updated : 00:22, Dec 06, 2019

Representational image PHOTO via PBSWhile many rape cases are lodged under children’s law, the accused are mostly adults. Therefore, confusion prevails as to which law will be used for the cases. Specialists say that a full-fledged law is required to try rape cases.
Executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, ASK, Shipa Hafiza says that trials on rape cases is being delayed due to ambiguity over laws, social barriers and the slow pace of laws.
“Victims of rape may face several bouts of questioning from police, doctors and courts which may exacerbate the mental anguish.”
As per ASK, there were 732 cases of rape in 2018. In the first nine months of this year, this stands at 1115. Of them, 57 were killed after rape.
Due to rapes, 8 persons committed suicide. Rape attempts were made on 178 persons. These details are collected from leading papers of the country but the actual number may be higher.
There is a demand for a rape law which is modern. Those seeking justice have to rely on laws of 1898, 1860, 1872, DNA law of 2014 and a few legal clauses of the 2000 women and children repression prevention act.
After an assessment of the laws it has been found that the issues of gender, religion, race and other matters are not clearly delineated.
There is no clear explanation as to how fines should be extracted from a rapist.
The law does not mention the issue of witnesses who are mentally challenged, the security of victims, forensic issues, the training of social workers etc.
As a result, justice may be delayed.
In the Rahel versus State case it was mentioned that most criminals were desperate and undaunted. They created pressure on victims’ family, resorted to threats and other heinous tactics.
In many cases, the rapist forced the victim’s family to withdraw case by promising financial benefits.
In view of these, the court feels that a law to protect witnesses is essential.
Research specialist of Bangladesh Legal AID Services Trust, BLAST, Takbir Huda, adds: “Court does not want to hear cases where a rape has been committed through false promises; rape within a relationship has not been established in our legal system as yet.”
In some cases, parents of girls in a romantic relationship accuse the boy of rape as they cannot accept such a liaison and so, there has to be a law to prevent the false framing of someone.
Executive director of ASK, Shipa Hafiza, said: “Rapes also happen when women go to take help from police, high officials or teachers. To ensure the secure movement of women, punishment has to be varied.
Calling the existing rape law outdated, president of the Bangladesh National Women’s Lawyers’ Association, BNWLA, Fauzia Karim, said: “We are not giving adequate importance to marital rape.”
There are several impediments to ensuring justice for rape cases: the unwillingness of the victim’s family to lodge a case, a tendency to blame the victim, threatening the victim’s family, delay in the process, etc, said Fauzia Karim.
President of a social welfare platform, Joya Sikder, adds: “When a transgender is raped, the police or the arbitration council don’t want to regard it as a crime.”
A person could be raped without genital penetration, said Joya.