Sexual Harassment Leads to Suicide In Bangladesh

A new craze in Bangladesh, “eve teasing” (a euphemism for sexual harassment), led the government to declare June 13, “Eve Teasing Protection Day.”  The announcement came in the wake of increasing worry over the numbers of women and girls who have committed suicide as a direct result of this phenomenon.  A human rights organization said that 14 women have killed themselves over the past four months because of “eve teasing,” and that three men who publicly protested the harassment have also been killed.

In an article for the BBC, Salim Mia recounts the tragic story of Nashfia Akhand Pinky, a 13-year-old girl who hanged herself after being subjected to months of stalking and harassment.  Pinky was repeatedly followed on her walk to school by her 22-year-old neighbor and some of his friends, who according to her family, aggressively harassed the girl with ribald comments, smutty jokes, coarse laughter, sly whistles and even indecent exposure.”  In January, when Pinky protested against their suggestive remarks, the men blocked her way and beat her.  Neighbors watched, but did nothing.

In her suicide note, Pinky wrote, “When [my tormentor] pulled my scarf and harassed me physically in front of the house, onlookers at the scene laughed. Nobody protested. None of my family members are responsible for my suicide.”

Disturbingly, the practice has also forced girls into marriages at a younger and younger age, because families believe that they will be safe from harassment only when they are married.  Other girls drop out of school or find their exams delayed.  Offenders are dismissed as “harmless or even justified,” according to a piece by Lesley Wexler, and the lack of retribution against “eve teasers” severely limits women’s ability to feel autonomous or independent in public spaces.

Clearly, it’s good that the government is acknowledging this problem for what it is, but more needs to be done, and quickly.  The Blank Noise Project is an organization that works to end street harassment in India and Bangladesh, recently launching several high-profile action projects.  Check out their website to see how you can help.

Photo via the Blank Noise Project.


Duane B.
.4 years ago

How sad!

Trudy C.
T. C5 years ago

Why is it so often attacks on weaker (or outnumbered) is dismissed as 'teasing'? Reminds me of when I've seen (sorry for the vulgarity) big dogs humping smaller, female OR male dogs just because they were unable to fend off the unwanted contact.

Bernadette P.
Berny p6 years ago

islam is supposed to protect women....a funny way to show it!

Bernadette P.
Berny p6 years ago

Religious leaders seem to be faily quiet about this....I wander would not have anything to do with religion by any chance......

Neil A.
Neil A6 years ago

Kazi Aslam H. how can we contact you when you do not have a profile on Care2 & besides a lot of what you claim is NOT TRUE if it was these little girls would not be abused & at worst driven to suicide, I have many friends & neighbours who are Muslim but women are still supressed & their views second best in many cases,Islam claims to respect women but gives little rights, you are quite right these men/boys are despicable cowardly criminals & deserve exemplary punishment & the bystanders who did nothing are also criminally negligent for not intervening, I have always done this even when it was a large crowd & found it does work as these people are cowards & surprised to be stood up to, you have to use a very loud authorative voice.

Randy Robertson
Randy Robertson6 years ago

There is a Psychological Phenomenon going on here in people not stopping this kind of behavior. Everyone is fearful of stepping out of the crowd and voicing their concerns or rejection of the behavior for fear that they will draw the attention of the mob towards themselves. It is safer to stay anonymous and faceless in the mob/crowd. It's a survival little fish all crowding together, all trying to get hidden in the middle of the school.

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


johan l.
paul l7 years ago

A week ago, a 14 year old girl in South Africa, was raped by a young Bangladeshi and murdered!
I can thus well believe, what kind of people the Bangladeshi girls have to deal with!
For Lesley Wexler to treat these incidents as harmless, is very peculiar.
What on earth sits behind this article of hers.
She surely knows what the facts are.
I feel extremely sorry for these Bangladeshi girls and hope the government will treat these sex criminals with an iron fist!

li d.
li d.7 years ago

Not only for Bangladesh. My ex was arrested for violence against my children as well as myself (was a number of times...that could have been a felony) He, though, is part of the 'good 'ol boys club'....owns a business in a small town. Though the state's attorney stated he was going to nail him to the wall, and got all of us worked up for trial (it's going to be ugly...are your prepared???)
My ex LIED and stated he was going to plead my boys and I didn't go to trial. At court, his attorney pled not guilty and stated Don didn't 'understand' the plea bargain)....ha! Just a misdemeanor vs. a felony. Oh....and next week in the media, the state's attorney wrote a lovely little article that felony charges for domestic abuse were down for the year. what a crock.

Dorcas H.
Dorcas H7 years ago

This is so very SAD, trafficing of women in this counttry has increased and also calls for new laws to protect women. Did you know that young girls are being kidnapped from Malls and transported in 18 wheelers all over the country,held as sex slaves, in the United States of seems where there are men, women will be used, abused, tossed aside, brutalized.