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Barriers to preventing sexual harassment are weak legal frameworks

by endroar

In public universities, in the last two years, there have been only three, sometimes five or six complaints. Comparing the size of the institution and the number of students, it goes without saying that the number does not reflect the true picture of sexual harassment in that institution.

Public and private universities have multiple departments but there is only one Grievance Committee at the central level. Many students may find approaching the Central Committee on a sensitive issue like sexual harassment a complicated process. Because of this, it is only when the level of harassment is extreme that one usually opts for a formal complaint. It is also necessary to consider whether multiple committees can be formed at the university level according to the department.

There is also a need for sensitive, open and unbiased discussion and dialogue about what constitutes sexually harassing behavior in universities. The crime of sexual harassment is not defined in any law of Bangladesh. Even the Supreme Court's 2009 guidance defines sexual harassment only by providing a few examples of sexually harassing conduct. Because of this, there remains an ambiguity about sexual harassment in general.


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