October 25, 2007

Raise your voice against domestic violence

Image credit Amnesty International
(Image credit Amnesty International)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month in USA, devoted to connecting battered women’s advocates across the nation to work together to end violence against women and children.

The issue is not country specific. Domestic violence is a menace that is found all over the world. This is a disease prevailing in every social structure, whether its the educated or uneducated, rich or poor. Bangladeshi women experience some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world.

In this report we will see how Bangladeshi bloggers have started making some waves in fighting domestic violence and bring justice for the victims proving the power of cyber activism once again.

Via Samiha Esha we take a look at the story of Nadine Murhsed, a lecturer of Brac University who was brutally assaulted by her husband Sajid Huq in New York, where he is a student at Columbia University.

Nadine on her wedding day Nadine brutally assaulted

Pictures tell a thousand words. but Nadine's note says more:
I am lucky to be alive, and there must be a reason why the month-long abuse I sustained did not culminate in my death. I had said my ‘innah lillah..’s and was prepared to die, but that didn’t happen. Instead, he raped me with my head draped with a scarf so that he wouldn’t have to look at my disfigured face.
She was rescued by police and Sajid is now in the custody of NY Police. Dr. Kathryn ward at Nari Jibon's Bangladesh from our view has more updates:
Her abusive husband's elite family is threatening her family with false cases. More recently many prominent Bangladeshi women's organizations and leaders have protested the continued harassment of Nadine and her family and called for justice in Bangladesh and USA.

Some have organized on Facebook a group to provide Justice for Nadine! while others are speaking up and writing to challenge the victim-blaming anti-Nadine activities of the abuser's, family, and friends who have posted misinformation on these websites!
Adhunika Blog has some shocking statistics:
Studies show that up to 3 million women are physically abused annually by intimate partners in the United States. However, the numbers seem worse for the South Asian community in the U.S, where approximately 41% of women are physically and/or sexually abused in some way by their current male partners in their lifetime. Unfortunately, the real percentage may be higher as many South Asian women are less likely to categorize various interactions as domestic violence, or are afraid or prevented from reporting such incidents.
The Blog lists some helpful links to different domestic violence groups in USA that provide information about domestic violence and different services to victims.

Now lets go to Bangladesh to learn about more violence against women.

On October 22, 2007 Manobi posted about Rahela, a teenager working class girl who was gang raped lead by her former colleague, her throat was slit and body brutally mutilated by acid three years ago. Before her painful death she could name the devils who did this to her mother. A case is on trial in court and the first hearing will be on October 29, 2007. A leading human rights organization "Ain O Salish Kendra" is fighting for Rahela's justice and is leading the court battle. The accused are hiding from the law and may get acquited due to lack of sufficient evidence. Her husband has remarried after six months and is happy that she could save him and his family from becoming a suspect by naming the culprits. This negligence is another form of violence!

In her post [bn] Manobi urged the bloggers to amplify the news everywhere especially in local media so that Rahela can get justice. This post got enormous response generating 222 comments till-to-date. Jiner Badshah posted another appeal titled "justice must prevail" [bn] to the Bangladeshi blogger community to create petition , send out to all the local media and create awareness in social networking sites.

And it worked like wonder as articles started to appear in local media. This has prompted local journalists like Foisal Noi [bn] to go to Rahela's village and dig out more information on the case. A significant TV coverage of Rahela case on 29th October is planned by the local electronic media. Whether Rahela will get justice only time will tell. But Manobi's one post lead to so much commotion in the society - this is unprecedented.

Manobi says in an email:
Now it feels like, Rahela is not abandoned, she is not forgotten. This ovewhelming response once again proves Humanity is the religion what we all follow.
I urge all the cyber activists of the world to raise your voices against the domestic violences of your communities and create more awareness on this subject. It only takes a power of one to bring a change.

(Cross-posted in the Global Voices Online)


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