Factors that Influence Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Bangladesh

Live Presentation

Speak with Hinna Hafeez about her practicum on January 31st from 4:30-5:00pm via this zoom link.

Video Presentation

View Hinna Hafeez' poster presentation in this video recording: 


Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations globally, affecting 1 in 3 women in their lifetime. It includes physical, sexual, economic, emotional and psychological violence and has profound and long-lasting effects on physical, mental, and sexual health. In Bangladesh, SGBV is highlighted as a critical issue affecting almost three quarters of ever married women in their lifetime.  

This project included a scoping literature review on the topic of SGBV to: 1) see how prevalent SGBV is in the country and how it disproportionately affects adolescents, 2) summarize some of the most common social determinants that influence SGBV, 3) investigate how COVID-19 has affected rates of SGBV in Bangladesh, 4) highlight some available support services in Bangladesh, and 5) see how previous interventions addressed SGBV in a sustainable way.  

This review found that many factors intersect to influence SGBV and can be harmful or protective, depending on the context. Patriarchal culture, low education, poverty, religion and early marriage are all factors that influence SGBV. COVID-19 has exacerbated some of these factors, creating a secondary shadow pandemic in Bangladesh, where more women and children were subjected to violence for the first time in their lives as a result of lockdown measures. Loss of income and joblessness, poverty, food scarcity, and fear and insecurity because of COVID-19 are all contributors to the increased rates of SGBV seen during the pandemic.  

Several support services exist in Bangladesh for women and children affected by SGBV, including a national helpline that connects victims to services in their area, a Victim Support Centre in Dhaka that is run by female Dhaka police officers and One-Stop Crisis Centres that are funded by the Bangladeshi government and provide medical, counselling, and legal services to victims. 

Interventions addressing SGBV should target prevention of cases, promoting services to treat victims and create long term solutions at the national law and policy level. Some approaches to prevention of cases include actively engaging men and taking a faith-based approach to programs created to target SGBV. 

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