Words as weapons: The unseen scars of emotional violence

GIZ Bangladesh organised the 16 days of activism event against gender-based violence virtually on 9 December 2021, marking the Begum Rokeya Day and the Human Rights Day that is on the 10 December 2021. The event’s theme was “Words as Weapons: The Unseen Scars of Emotional Violence”. Dr. Angelika Fleddermann, Country Director, GIZ Bangladesh, welcomed the participants and thanked the GIZ BD Gender Working Group (GWG) for organising such an event. She talked about the psychological and economic violence that leads to emotional violence. She heartily welcomed the guest speakers Dr. Mehtab Khanam, Dr. Angela Langenkamp and Shamoli Patowari.

Dr. Mehtab Khanam, Honourary Professor, Psychology Department, University of Dhaka, graced the event with her speech on psychological and social issues focusing on men’s privileges in opposed to women’s impediments. Her speech covered issues including the lack of daycare centres for working women; violated women being afraid to complain as they are not financially independent and also child marriage, one of the most prevalent forms of gender-based violence in Bangladesh.

Dr. Angela Langenkamp, GIZ Gender Commissioner, shared some personal reflections and highlighted the effects of online harassment on girls and women by sharing some insights, facts and figures from the report “Free to be online” compiled by Plan International. Key findings reveal that more than half of girls surveyed, in 22 countries around the world, have been harassed and abused online, that online abuse is silencing girls’ voice and that one in four girls abused online feels physically unsafe as a result.

The GWG members Ananya Rubayat and Marufa Haque, shed more light on the event’s theme with an interesting presentation. The audience was further mesmerised.

The survivor Shamoli Patowari, Member of Women Group under GIZ BD supported “Support to the Management of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forests-SMP II” project took the audience through an emotional journey sharing her story about her two daughters and how she made her livelihood from fishing in the Sundarbans rivers. Later how her life changed when she got married to a Muslim man going against her Christian community. She is facing a lot of physical and mental violence from her husband and in-laws. She is still not defeated and is fighting against all odds to survive and bring up her daughters with proper education with a poem recited by Sandwip Mondol “Krishnokoli Mahato” written by Subodh Sarkar..

The audience was later enthralled by a Fusion song played on guitar by Mynul Kader. A slide show of pictures of the GIZ colleagues wearing GIZ BD Orange masks with the pledge on stopping gender-based violence was displayed during the song.


Contact Details

Name: Farah Maysun Khan
Email: farah.khan@giz.de
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