An engaging discussion at Barisal policy forum at the 12th of January, 2018 was on three issues: violence against women, faith based violence and youth on election. The event was specifically centered on youth and tried to reflect the current ideas and thoughts today’s youth are having on these imperative themes.
The forum started with the discussion on the current state of violence on women in Bangladesh. The discussion revealed many thoughts youth have on this issue.
Participants pointed that discrimination starts from family and leads to larger societal discrimination. Many participants said that discrimination starting from the family is normalized from childhood and most people grow up being blind to discrimination because it has been so pervasive and deeply rooted.
Interestingly, young male took a gender-blind approach to development at the start of the discussion. For example, one participant suggested that society must stop talking about discrimination as a whole for a few generations which will lead to future generations not discriminating, on few male participants opposing the quota system (e.g. reserved bus seats) for women suggesting it aggravates gender discrimination. But as the discussion moved forward, the participant understood that reserved bus seats for women is needed as women face a lot of harassment while they are in public transports.
Major suggestions from the session focused on Self-defense, training individual self-awareness from childhood and so on. Gender education from family and support is said to be very important. While taking affirmative actions, policy makers are suggested to take race, social status, religion, access to services etc. into consideration.
As the discussion moved to violence in the name of faith, participants pointed out distance from family members is one of the major reason of young people are susceptible to going into violence.