Women and men walked together at a rally recognising changing forms of violence against women that include workplace harassment, violence at one’s parental home and cyberbullying.
The rally at Metiabruz saw a turnout of 750 people, most of them were boys and men.
Organisers said the turnout suggested a change in the thinking of at least some men and their recognition of the violence against women.
The rally on Wednesday was organised by Swayam, a feminist organisation that has been working to advance women’s rights.
It is part of the 16-day campaign to stop violence against women and girls.
The participants distributed leaflets with information on what amounts to violence against women.
Amrita Dasgupta, director of Swayam, said that over the years violence against women by husbands or even boyfriends has received a fair amount of recognition.
But what a woman might face at her parents’ home was not known.
“During the lockdown, instances of violence at parental family came to the fore. Such violence is not necessarily physical but could be verbal, financial. It could also be a situation where the parents are trying to manipulate the daughter’s life,” she said.
Dasgupta also spoke about workplace harassment which might be a subtle form of violence.
“It could be a pat on the back,” said Dasgupta.
Violence is becoming “more complex and disguised” and there are women and also men who are recognising it.
Violence against women has always existed, said a member of Swayam.
But as more women have access to education and are becoming economically independent, patriarchal and traditional practices are being challenged, leading to women facing further backlash and new forms of violence, said the member.
Many of the women who joined the rally have been survivors of different forms of violence. Some of them work in tailoring units and workplace harassment is not new to them.
A 28-year-old married woman lives separately because she felt violated by her husband’s behaviour.
“Earlier, a woman had to be worried about the taunts outside the home. But now even at home, there is no respite,” she said.
She had faced both physical and verbal abuse from her husband, she said.
Mohammad Sahabuddin, 25, who joined the rally, said: “The nature of violence is changing. If a woman’s phone is busy she would be questioned or will have to face the consequences. It is not always about physical violence, it could be mental harassment.”
The young man said in most cases the perpetrator is the man. “If men change their outlook and mindset it would help bring a change in society. If I talk to 10 people perhaps only one would agree with what I am saying. That one person will help bring a change,” he said.