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|Volume 12 |Issue 04| January 25, 2013 ||
A NEW KIND OF HARASSMENT
My husband and I were coming home to Dhanmondi one night after a dinner party in Gulshan and were inevitably stuck in a huge traffic jam on Manik Mia Avenue. My husband was tired and fell asleep with his head on my shoulder but I was wide awake, playing games on my phone. All of a sudden, I noticed two men on a motorcycle next to our car, staring at us. When I looked at them, they started making rude gestures at me and mocking us by hugging/groping each other and making lewd comments about us. They were also encouraging passers-by to look at us which upset me a lot. I woke my husband up to watch what was happening and he was dumbfounded. I've been harassed by men in many ways when I walk on the streets, but this was the first time I was harassed in the safety of my own car. What is going on with the men in this country?
We had a young girl of about sixteen, Salma, working for us as a domestic helper. Last month, she went home for a few days and when she returned, she demanded a cell phone from my mother. When my mother refused to buy her one, she threatened to leave. Hearing this, my mother called her family and let them know what was happening and they urged her to stick to her decision and not give their daughter a phone as she would be communicating with her boyfriend of whom they did not approve. One day Salma packed her bags and ran away with her boyfriend. We looked everywhere and even filed a report with the police but she could not be found. Our cook, who is also a young woman in her thirties, claimed she had no idea how Salma had communicated with her boyfriend. A week later, Salma returned, claiming she had come to visit and that she had married her boyfriend and he would be picking her up in an hour. We found this strange and asked her where she was living to which she made no reply. We called her family but they wanted nothing to do with her. An hour came and went and no husband showed up to take her home. She called his phone but it was switched off. Salma claimed he was a bus driver and he worked late so he must be busy, but the man never came. The next morning Salma tearfully confessed that the man had never married her and that our cook had set her up with him and knew him well. Our cook wasn't around to be questioned as she had gone to the bazaar and never returned. Salma claimed that he had given the cook some money to show his appreciation for introducing him to his “future wife.” This type of incident is quite common these days and often, the employers of these girls get into trouble for their disappearance. I thought I would share our experience and warn people about this.
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