Eve-teasing in Bangladesh causing many women to commit suicide

      Eve teasing in Bangladesh has taken such a heavy toll on the country's women that the education ministry there has voted to have an 'Eve Teasing Protection Day'. The announcement was made after the increasing concern over the worrying number of girls and women who have recently committed suicide in the country to escape eve teasing, a euphemism for sexual harassment. According to figures released by the Ain-O-Shalish Kendra (ASK) human rights organisation, 14 girls and women have taken their own lives over the past four months across the country as a direct result of the insults. In addition, a father and a daughter also committed suicide together - in an incident blamed by the authorities on "eve teasing". Police say three men who publicly protested against the harassment have been killed over the past 12 weeks. Critics argue that laws, which should prohibit sexual harassment, are so poorly drafted that victims get virtually no help from the law enforcement agencies. Families of the victims are left feeling hopeless and helpless. "Some victims find suicide is the only avenue that enables them to escape this social pandemic," the BBC quoted Sultana Kamal, executive director of ASK, as saying. "The situation is very frightening. The suicides of 14 girls are an alarming sign of the times. If it is not controlled, we women can no longer live in society with any dignity," she said. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid while admitting to the menace said female students and female teachers were at present not safe on the streets or schools, a situation leading to an increased drop-out rate of female students in many schools, and underage marriages.

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