Everyday thousands of women and girls undergo sexual harassment throughout the world. The situation is worst in the third world countries. Most cases go unreported as they are afraid of being humiliated by society and kinsfolk. It takes a lot of courage for a girl or a woman to come forward and report the matter. A Bangladeshi school girl Nusrat Jahan Rafi showed courage when she was sexually harassed by her Head Master.
She filed a police complaint against her Madrsa headmaster. Repercussion? She was burnt alive. In Bangladesh, many women and girls go through these kind of experiences, within and outside family. And so they don’t open their mouth.
19 years old, Nusrat Jahan Rafi, belonged to Feni, a small town in Bangladesh. She was a student of a Madrsa. In her police complaint, she said that on 27th March, she was called in the headmaster’s office. There, the headmaster touched her improperly many times. She found her courage and ran out before it could go any further.
Nusrat Jahan Rafi not only dared to talk about it but also had the courage to report it to the police. She must have been concerned about the consequences of her actions. Fortunately, Nusrat Jahan had her family’s support.
Society is not only critical about sufferers but also hassles them personally as well as online. Often they are attacked violently.
The Insensitive Handling by Bangladeshi Police
While she was giving her account in the police station, she should have been given protected surroundings. But what was done by the police officer in charge? When she was evoking her horrific experience, he filmed the entire proceeding on his mobile camera. She was very distraught and tried to cover her face.
It can be heard on the video policeman calling it “no big deal”. He also asked her to remover her hands from her face.
Nusrat Jahan Rafi Police Video
Here’s the video we have talked about. This video had gone viral and shows the insensitivity of the authorities. You can feel her pain while watching but the policeman had no emotions. Sad!!
Social and Political Support to Molestor
The situation worsened for Nusrat Jahan Rafi when the headmaster was arrested by the police. The crowd gathered and started asking for his release. This demonstration was organized by the two male students. Even, local politicians were present there.
As usual, Nusrat was blamed for everything. Her family expressed concerned with regards to her safety.
After 11 days, she went to school to appear in her final exams with her brother, Mahmudul Hasan Noman. He was denied entry inside.
When she reached the premises, a female student took her to the rooftop, claiming that her friend is being beaten up. When she reached there she found four or five burqa-clad persons. They encircled her and tried to persuade her to retract the case.
When she refused to surrender to the pressure, these people set her ablaze.
Banaj Kumar Majumdar, the Chief Investigator of Police Bureau, said that killers were trying “to make it look like a suicide”. But they fled from the scene as their plan failed.
Nusrat was rescued. She logged her testimonial on her brother’s mobile phone, in the ambulance as she was scared that she may not survive.
An Outrage in Public and Media
People attended her funeral in thousands. Media covered this incident largely. The policeman who made video of her grievance was detached from his appointment and shifted to other department. 15 people have been arrested including the two students who organized demonstration in headmaster’s support. Even, he is detained.
In Dhaka, Nusrat’s family was promised by Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina that her killers will be punished and justice would be done.
It has ignited demonstrations. Lots of people have communicated their fury via social media.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad claimed that 940 cases of rape were reported in 2018.
People are questioning why her case is getting attention after an assault on her. Despite Supreme Court’s order to establish cells to lodge complaints against sexual abuse, initiative of the school is very poor. Activists are asking to enforce the law and preserve the sanctity of students.
Every year thousands of people undergo events that leave them traumatized for life. Some survive, some don’t. Nusrat didn’t, and this is something that the world should feel ashamed about. The world should feel ashamed that a young girl was traumatized. That she was outraged, ridiculed for being molested, treated unfairly and thereafter she was made to suffer. The violence was not just physical, but also mental. Take a moment, and think where we are heading. Every now and then we witness a Nirbhya or Nusrat dying. It has to stop now. It should stop now.