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Believe survivors. Act now. Romela’s story*, Bangladesh

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

“Since I was a child, I loved the idea of driving, but I didn’t dare to dream about it,” says Romela Islam*. “I got married after I finished high school. My husband was a cruel man and tortured me. When I was pregnant, he punched me so hard I ended up losing my baby. On most nights, I cried myself to sleep. I wanted to end my life.” Romela Islam escaped her abusive marriage when her brother took her to Tarango (meaning, waves), a women’s shelter in Bangladesh in December 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the country and violence against women and girls was on the rise.

In the words of Mst. Merina Afroz: "I monitor cases of gender-based violence and ensure that justice is served."

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

UN Women is supporting Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner officials, Camp-in-Charges, police and legal aid providers through training on gender-responsive humanitarian action, women's empowerment, and violence against women. UN Women also has six “gender field officers” who cover 13 camps and support the Camp-in-Charges. Many cases of adolescent girl molestation and eve-teasing have come to my attention. These are delicate cases that are difficult to handle, but I do my best to ensure that justice is served. Through the Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the Bangladesh Government is also assisting survivors of gender-based violence.

From where I stand: Learning sessions gave me the courage to aim for a career as a police officer and end illegal behaviour against women

Monday, October 11, 2021

Jesmin Aktar lives in a village of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She regularly attends UN Women's "Shanti Khana" [Multi-Purpose Women's Centre – MPWC] learning sessions and is dedicated to improving her life by pursuing a challenging job and contributing to society.

From where I stand: “I wanted my daughters to know who makes the decisions at home”

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"I was forcefully married off at the age of 16 to a man who only knew violence. The miserable household held my parent-in-laws, brother and sister-in-law, and my unemployed husband. Within three months of my marriage, I realized that my husband had no affinity to get himself a job, and that is when the abuse began. It was always for dowry, to fund his failed ventures one after the other while the rest of the household fell deeper into the grasp of poverty."

Letter from Farzana Begum: “I carried nothing but a broken heart”

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Dear Nazlee-apa, You are my inspiration. You taught me that there is another way of living this life. A whole lot better, a new life of mine. When you saw me walking into Tarango’s shelter for the first time, I carried nothing but a broken heart. I was lost, I was hurt, and I was terrified. But where else could I have gone to? It frustrates me even now. How could my husband have stayed silent when his father was insulting me for dowry?

Letter from Ma: “I realized that I had stopped dreaming a long ago”

Monday, September 13, 2021

Dear son, Just like you, ma had a dream when she was a little girl. I wanted to go to school and become an educated woman. But I fell in love too young and dived into a relationship too soon. By the time I realized that I had made a big mistake, it was too late. Marriage meant the end of my school, and the love I found came with many struggles. Baba [your father] was not very good at finding work. Sometimes he found work and worked for a day.

In the Words of: Nazlee Nipa “Happy moments for me is when we turn sad faces into happy ones”

Monday, September 13, 2021

At the Tarango’s women’s shelter, Nazlee Nipa provides a supportive and safe environment for women and girls subject to violence. Photo: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer One day, a girl knocked on our door. She wanted to leave her husband, who was emotionally abusing her. She had already asked for help from her mother, but her mother told her that emotional violence is not a crime. With no documents, she left her house and came to us. I accompanied her to the police station to lodge a...

“I am unrecognizable, even to myself!”

Friday, September 10, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment, poverty, fear and insecurity have increased around the world. They triggered an alarming escalation of violence against women and girls, particularly an increase in domestic violence, rape and child marriage. Bangladesh is no exception. Many informal jobs have vanished, affecting 90 percent of Bangladeshi women working in the informal sector.

Letter from Saima

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Dear Kohinoor-apa, Do you know how much my life has changed? I am unrecognizable, even to me! Ever since I was a child, I always lived in fear. When my father married me off, I was still underage. A local leader endorsed the marriage, modifying my age on the official document. Police came, but influential people in the village bribed them and sent them away. My husband was abusive, torturing me for dowry.

Taking strides to prevent violence against women and girls in South Asia

Monday, September 6, 2021

Prevention of violence against women and girls often takes a back seat to other efforts to address violence. But with the rollout of the RESPECT framework in India, Bangladesh and Nepal more leaders are embracing the idea that prevention is possible and are focusing future work on prevention programming.

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