Rumi (not her real name) was going to washroom from her cabin in a Barishal-bound passenger launch from Dhaka. At the end of the nightlong journey, she would reach her beloved home in the morning.
But, a man kept stalking her from the moment she boarded the ship. Getting out of the washroom, she observed that the man was standing before the cabin door.
Rumi understood his evil motive that once she opened the door, he would shove her into the cabin along with himself.
She started screaming for help. But, the people who came forward hearing the scream said nothing to the man. Instead, they delivered the verdict against her, saying that it was silly of her to come out of the cabin in the dead of night. Then a salvo of criticism was fired against her attire.
Though the sensational Suhrawardy Udyan incident during the Pahela Baishakh festival or the Narsingdi railway station case stole limelight, Rumi's incident is one of many which are buried with victims.
Therefore, women's safety in public places is a concern not just in Bangladesh but the entire world as well.
As Bangladesh is moving up the Gender Equality Index of the World Economic Forum, strict measures are being taken against such incidents.
Young Bangla, the youth platform of the Centre for Research and Information (CRI), the Human Rights Program of UNDP and National Human Rights Commission conducted a campaign on women's safety in public places.
The campaign was launched with the aim to inculcate a positive attitude towards women's safety in public places among the stakeholders, youths and citizens.
To that goal, young campaigners exchanged their views with policymakers at a policy advocacy event titled 'Women's Safety in Public Places' at the end of a campaign which would be aired on private-run Somoy TV tomorrow.
The discussion between the policymaking level and youths was joined by Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq with his presence.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam and UNDP Bangladesh Deputy Resident Representative Van Nguyen also spoke at the programme.
Executive Director and founder of Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) Rokeya Kabir, Deputy Inspector General (Protection and Protocol) of the Special Branch of Bangladesh Police Amena Begum, Executive Director of Dhaka Transport Co-ordination Authority (DTCA) Neelima Akhter, National Human Rights Commission Honorary Member Jesmin Ara Begum, and Bangladesh Shop Owners Association President Md Helal Uddin took part in the panel discussion.
A recorded speech of NHRC Chairman Nasima Begum was displayed at the programme.
The awareness campaign titled 'Women's Safety at Public Places' started its journey on 14 October 2020.
CRI Chairperson Sajeeb Wazed Joy, CRI Trustee and Vice-Chairperson Saima Wazed, and CRI Trustee Radwan Mujib Siddiq expressed solidarity with the campaign.
The campaign was conducted online in addition to the field level.
At the field level campaign, 10 Young-Bangla-affiliated organisations worked in 10 different districts (Dhaka, Narayanganj, Barishal, Patuakhali, Khulna, Narail, Chattogram, Rangamati, Bogura, and Rajshahi).
In these districts, meetings were organized involving 2,200 volunteer groomed by 29 trainers.
A total of 11,500 people from different walks of life such as, like minded youth organizations, local journalists, shop owners and labour associations, civil society, and public transport workers participated in these meetings.
The campaign has reached out 12 million people so far through online and on ground interventions.
Under the initiative of CRI, 'Policy Café' has been working as the voice of youths at the country's policymaking level for the last eight years.
This is the most popular platform for youths to express their demands and views on the country's policymaking.
This is the bridge between policymakers and youths offering discussions on all issues regarding national development and possibilities.