My essay on rape culture in Bangladesh in Dhaka Tribune, published July 2017.
A few years ago, writer Kate Harding began a blog called Don’t Get Raped. It was a response to victim-blaming that dogged survivors of sexual assault and rape. The concept was simple. Given the propensity of public and private responses like why was she wearing this, why did she go there, why didn’t she do that—Harding merely linked to news items of assault and rape, titling them in accordance with the circumstances in which the violation occurred. Ever since I discovered her Tumblr, each incident of rape in Bangladesh I read about plays out in my head in that format. Here’s a Bangladesh sampling from the last couple of years: Don’t Be a Police Officer. Don’t Play in Front of Your House. Don’t Live with Your Father. Don’t Ride a Bus. Don’t Be Eight Months Old. Don’t Rent a House. Don’t Wait at a Bus Stop with Your Husband. Don’t Have a Father. Don’t Accept Iftaar Invitations.
The list is exhaustive and exhausting. Women and girls face sexual violence at home, in public places, with their parents present, at the hands of male relatives, at the hands of their friends, or their teachers, or even their fathers, while wearing skirts, while wearing shalwar-kameez, while wearing the hijab, at morning, noon and night.