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Normal life was stalled during the coronavirus period. People were almost locked at home. Naturally, violence against women should have been less at this time. But statistically, the incidence of rape and violence against women has increased during that period. The country has strict laws to stop violence against women. Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Act was amended in 2020 with the provision of death penalty for rape. It could not reduce rape. More worryingly, in many cases, members of the law enforcement agencies are also involved in the crime. According to the Ain O salish Kendra, four police officers were charged with rape in 2018, three in 2019, four in 2020 and four so far this year.

In May this year, a woman returning from India was raped by a policeman while she was in quarantine at a Khulna isolation centre. The policeman is in Khulna district jail. No charge sheet has been filed in this case as yet. On the night of 30 December, 2018, mother of four children was raped in Subarnachar, Noakhali. There are many cases of such rape are pending.

Incidences of rape in the country have increased to an alarming level but the full scenario cannot be found with the media reports only. Not all the victims file cases. The punishment rate is only 3-4 per cent. Remaining perpetrators bailed themselves out through the loopholes in the law. Many a time political power, money and influence are used to cover up such incidents. The harsh reality is that those who are raped in society live in fear while the rapists boast of their powers. Therefore, strict laws against violence against women and rape are not enough, punishment of criminals must also be ensured through proper implementation of that law. There should also be assurances that the victim woman should not be harassed and socially defamed while filing the case. Yasmin’s mother has rightly said, “Fear must be instilled into the perpetrators.”

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