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Abstract

Violence against women strikes countless women in epidemic proportions across the globe. At present, it is treated as the most pervasive violation of human rights and a serious impediment for development. Shockingly, for many years, a huge culture of silence was associated with the acts of violence of men against women. The second-wave feminist movement of the late sixties and early seventies brought the issue into public discourse, provided a theoretical foundation to analyse the problem and commenced an all-out campaign to redress the problem. For the second-wave feminist movement, patriarchy or unequal power relations between men and women is considered as the root cause of violence. Influenced inextricably by the influx of the second-wave feminist movement and its analytical framework, the United Nations (UN) has put the issue formally on the global agenda and set off a series of strategies and programmes to eliminate the problem. Hereafter, violence against women is no more a matter of silence. This paper, through the content analysis method, offers a chronological account of the whole gamut of the journey from ‘silence to outbreak’ concerning violence against women. Then again, it critically scrutinises the implications of this global journey at the local level. As such, it takes Bangladesh as a case and finds that despite having lots of interventions in place, violence against women is a serious problem for women. It is because of the throttlehold of patriarchy that confronting violence against women seems to be somehow arduous. Nonetheless, evidence shows that the influx of second-wave feminism and subsequent proceedings of the UN concerning the issue of violence against women have had some kind of influences on Bangladesh as well. Understandably, the global movement to combat violence against women has a local appeal as well. Nevertheless, the movement to combat violence against women is a continuous process. Sensitising men and boys for developing healthy gender relations and involving them in the movement are some of the suggestions given in this paper.

Note on the Author

Anisur Rahman Khan is a faculty member at Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC), Dhaka, Bangladesh. BSS (Honours), MSS (Sociology, Dhaka University, Bangladesh), MA (Women’s Studies, University of York, UK), Ph.D. candidate in Development Administration at National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Bangkok, Thailand.

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