International Men's Day: Why are men's rights neglected in a male-dominated society
By Md. Zillur Rahaman
International Men's Day is celebrated on November 19 in every year. The day is celebrated worldwide as a major occasion to promote gender equality among men, ensure the well-being of boys and men, and promote a positive image of men. Men's Day was first proposed in 1994, but the history is quite old. Red Army and Navy Day was observed in the Soviet Union since 1922.
This day was observed mainly to honor the bravery and sacrifice of men. In 2002, the day was named as 'Defender of the Fatherland Day'. This day was observed in the then Soviet Union countries including Russia, Ukraine. It can be said that the day is celebrated similarly to Women's Day. Since the 1960s, writing has been going on to celebrate Men's Day. In 1968, American journalist John P. Harris highlighted the importance of celebrating this day in his writings. In the early 1990s, several institutions in the United States, Australia and Malta organized several events to celebrate Men's Day in February. Later it was decided to celebrate Men's Day on November 19 worldwide.
International Men's Day is also celebrated on November 19 in Bangladesh and some non-governmental organizations organised some events to celebrate this day. An organization called Men's Rights Foundation established in 2016 in Bangladesh is celebrating the day and at the same time the organization provides legal advice and awareness on male abuse. The organization found in their research that almost 80 percent of married men in the country are victims of 'mental' abuse.
It is a common belief that women are oppressed in this male-dominated society, but many do not want to believe that the opposite also happens. Different media naturally serve and promote various types of news like women torture, sexual assault, dowry, acid throwing, divorce, murder and rape with great importance. But the fact that men can be victims of more or less torture, abuse and harassment is rarely revealed in the media.
Although male violence is exceptional, but it occurs more or less worldwide. In fact, in the eyes of the law, male or female criminals are equal and both have the right to take recourse to the law. In our country, if women are subjected to torture, they get shelter under Dowry and Women Torture Act, but there are many complaints that men are subjected to extensive abuse or harassment through these laws. Because just as women are oppressed by men in the society, the opposite also happens. When women are abused by men, various human rights organizations become very vocal about it, and the media promotes and serves the issue with great importance.
Whatever anyone says, society is changing fast and male oppression is the new form of changing society. Some of the abused men are being abused physically, some mentally, some physically-financially, some socially and these types of torture is often happening at home and outside. Although relatively less, the number of abused men is not less in this country. Various public and private organizations of the country working on human rights have statistics on women's abuse, but there is no accurate information on men's abuse. As a result, even though the news of women's abuse is published, the cases of male abuse remain in the dark. However, recently, several organizations are being formed focusing on male violence and their human rights.
When men are oppressed by women in the society, many people do not express shame or the society does not accept it positively. The biggest hurdle law doesn't support it at all. Many men feel that if this is revealed, his personality will disappear or his personality will be questioned in the society. Many men in the society are seen expressing their helplessness by being harassed by other women or wives or being harassed in false cases. Many people are silently tolerating these abuses and threats of their wives day after day, thinking about the eyesores and the children of the family. Various organizations working on men's rights say that many men in the society cry silently over the pain of their wives. Go behind people's eyes and wipe their eyes; But there is no one to see, there is no way to tell.
Sociologists say that the bond of love in married life is much lighter than before. Besides, this is happening due to various reasons including degradation of social values, moral slippage, greed, luxury, alienation, drug addiction, economic inequality, harmful effects of globalization, free sky cultural flow. The ultimate consequence of which is the destruction and torture of the family. Both men and women are affected by family turmoil and family breakdown. All sections of society from high class to low class are constantly suffering from various family problems. In this case, many people in the society are extending their hand of sympathy to the victimized women. But in this male-dominated society, the fact that men can be oppressed is not in anyone's mind. As a result, the tragic story of male abuse remains hidden in most cases. Incidents of male violence are actually not less.
Victims say that even if they are tortured by their wives, men cannot take legal recourse. In most cases, they are trying to adapt to the torture of their wives silently, forced by the fear of their children's future, social status, shame, jail-police and vice-versa. Men cannot talk about torture even if they want to. On the other hand, if a woman abuses the law, she can easily file a woman abuse case or dowry case against the man in the police station or court. In fact many women are deliberately using dowry and women abuse laws as a shield to harass and abuse men. Whoever commits the crime, whether male or female, must be punished according to law, otherwise the equality of both men and women will be destroyed. Family values will be lost.
Article 27, 28 and 29 of our constitution mentions the rights of women. On the other hand, there are several laws in the country for the protection of women. Among these, Women and Child Abuse Act-2000, Acid Prevention Act-2002, Domestic Violence and Suppression Act-2010, Dowry Prevention Act-1980 are notable. But unfortunately, even though the laws were made for the protection of true women, these laws are currently being used by some women as a tool to suppress men. Self-interested women are misusing these laws to harass their husbands. On the other hand, the law of 'prevention of male violence' has not yet been created in the country. Due to these reasons, male victims are deprived of legal services.
In fact, abuse of dowry laws is most common in cases of male violence. Many say that most of the dowry laws are false and harassing. If there is a final quarrel on any family matter, it turns into a dowry case at the police station. If for any reason there is discord between the husband and wife or if the wife is divorced or if the wife is disciplined or if the wife is prevented from having an extramarital affair, the wife and her family members shall be brought to the police station or the court under Section 11(b) of the Abuse of Women and Children Act-2000 or the Prevention of Dowry Act-1980. Filed a case under section 4 of this one case is enough to make a man's life miserable.
Many of the cases made under the 'Dowry Prevention Act' of 1980 are false. In the light of personal experience, many people related to law courts jokingly call dowry cases (Joutuker Mamla) as 'joke cases (Koutuker Mamla)'. It is true that many women may not get maintenance properly and there are minor quarrels between husband and wife on various issues, there is tension in the family. Many wives take legal action against the 'husband' only if they are defiled like lime peels in terms of house keeping, child rearing etc.
There are many consumables in the market and many women like it but husbands are not able to provide them on time and there is little displeasure and quarrels. However, instead of filing a maintenance case in the family court, the wives filed cases of dowry and beatings under the Women and Child Abuse Prevention Act, due to this, husbands suffer indescribably. Besides the case of non-payment of maintenance, some women also file a case of beating under a 'Women's Torture Prevention Act'. The matter has stood as a past obstacle.
On December 25, 2017, in the domestic session of the National Judicial Conference at the Supreme Court, more than 40 tribunal judges of the rank of District and Sessions Judges participated in an open discussion under the chairmanship of a judge of the Appellate Division. A 10-point preliminary report was prepared in this regard. 'False cases' are identified as the number one problem as a reason for not settling cases. The judges who participated in that session agreed that in reality, there is widespread misuse of the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Act. Again, despite stricter punishments and their implementation, the level of crimes like violence against women and dowry has not reduced. For this reason, they recommended some sections of the existing law to be amended on an urgent basis through discussion with the stakeholders. They lamented that in Section 11A of the Act, there is only provision of death penalty for dowry. As a result, sentencing cannot take into account the gravity of the crime, which is against human rights.
To be honest, there is no specific law in our country to prevent male violence. There is a tribunal for women and child abuse but not for men. While they create laws to protect women in male-dominated societies, they do not have their own harassment laws. As a result, it is becoming difficult to provide legal assistance to the victims. Many men, from high-ranking socialites to low-class rickshaw pullers, are turning to various places for legal help after suffering physical and mental abuse. A news that the Bangladesh government is going to enact the Male Torture Act to prevent abuse of the Women and Child Torture Act has been heard for quite some time. Many people are seeing this step of Bangladesh government as positive. For this reason, there is a strong demand for legislation to stop male torture on behalf of the victims, and those concerned consider the demand as reasonable and have a justified ground.
The writer is a Banker and Columnist