Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ending Domestic Violence

Since 2005, I have hosted a website of resources on domestic violence in Bangladesh (in Bangla and English) as well state by state resources for South Asian women in USA.

Website address: www.siu.edu/~narijibon/DADV.htm

Many women and men in Bangladesh know little of available resources due to lack of information even though Bangladeshi women experience some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world (see Ruchira Naveed's [ICDDRB] and others' excellent work). Many women do not want to discuss their struggles and abuse outside of their families.

Knowledge of Bangladeshi and USA resources is very important because Domestic violence (and other forms of violence) travel with migrants and back and forth. Given the transnational locations of many family members, the survivors may be in one country while the abusers move back and forth; and abusers’ families threaten the survivors’ families (esp in Bangladesh).

Recently the Daily Star reported on a Bangladeshi woman (Nadine) who is fighting for her life in New York city after her new husband, blogger-writer, and Columbia university lecturer (Sajid Huq) allegedly beat and raped her. She called the police who arrested Sajid on rape and abuse charges. 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. Another blog provides insights and pictures from survivor Nadine. 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!

These adamant denials, reprisals, and harassment against an educated woman from an elite family show the continued need for more education and activism against violence against women in all contexts and classes. Many women know when they speak up and refuse to be abused or file charges, that others will step up their abuse of the woman and her family to keep them silent and/or in their place or drop charges. Or com/promises to behave are made and the cycle of abuse continues. If this can happen to an elite women, what is a poor woman to do?

At least, the USA has laws against domestic violence and rape that an immigrant woman can use if she knows of them and/or trusts the police, while Bangladesh still has no specific laws against domestic violence despite many meetings, networks, and donor dollars. Meanwhile, the results from USA immigration laws-policy on migrants seeking asylum in USA from abusive partners who hold their spousal visas have been so-so, even though abused women can seek a visa in their own right (please contact a shelter program near you in USA for more information). At the same time, the abused woman was supposed to report promptly her abuse to the local police in USA, but many women do not trust the USA police and/or do not know of any options. Further, in 2005 and onwards, I have learned that many USA and Bangladeshi organizations did not have one another’s contact information to share information about laws and programmes. I have continued to share these resources over time, for example, the excellent links on Adhunika's domestic violence post.

****Check out a new resource from January 2008: New Blogsite OUT AGAINST ABUSE to educate and organize the South Asian Community about domestic violence-gender abuse--please read, comment, and discuss this resource!****

I hope to update the article resources soon. I would appreciate any comments, updates, as well. These resources were developed as part of my research-work in Bangladesh with Dr. Rifat Akhter (who developed USA resource list), Dr. Mahmuda Islam (who visited many USA locations and informed my Bangladesh work), and Mr. Saiful Islam (who has visited many NGOS working to end domestic violence in Bangladesh and co-wrote and translated the English-Bangla brochure).

Bhalo thakben to all the brave women and men who are working to end violence against women, children, and men!

also cross posted on Bangladesh from Our View

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