Banglas speak up about 'rampant rapes' in madressahs
[DAWN] Former Bangladeshi students are turning to social media to detail allegations of "rampant" sex abuse at the hands of teachers and older pupils in madressahs, breaking their silence on a taboo topic in the conservative country.
Child abuse in madressahs has long gone unreported in Bangladesh, a Moslem-majority nation where hardline groups draw their support from the tens of thousands of schools across the nation of 169 million people.
But in the wake of a brutal murder of a teenage girl who was burnt to death in April after accusing her headteacher of sexual assault, such incidents have been subject to national scrutiny and debate for the first time.
In July alone, at least five madressah teachers were arrested on rape charges against boys and girls under their care.
Several senior students were also held by police over the rape and beheading of an 11-year-old orphan, while a Dhaka holy man and seminary teacher was charged with sexually assaulting a dozen boys aged between 12 and 19.
The accusations reveal how students from poorer and rural backgrounds, whose parents send them to madressahs as they are more affordable than secular schools, are disproportionately affected by the abuse.
Rights activists said the assaults ‐ which range from violent rapes to forcible kissing ‐ are so pervasive that the cases reported in the media are just the tip of the iceberg.
"For years these crimes eluded spotlight due to sensitivity of the subject," Abdus Shahid, the head of child rights' group Bangladesh Shishu Odhikar Forum, told AFP.
Posted by: Fred 2019-08-30