Rape Law Reform Now

Despite increasing reports of rape in the media, conviction rates in Bangladesh remain low and rapists continue to enjoy impunity. Studies demonstrate that most rape victims and survivors still do not come to court to seek redress. When they do, they routinely face threats and reprisals (especially if the accused is from an influential background), causing them to abandon the prosecution. Even where cases are filed, investigations concluded, and trials take place, there are very few convictions.

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) launched the Rape Law Reform Now (RLRN) campaign in 2018 to identify protection gaps in existing rape legislation which continue to perpetuate impunity and miscarriages of justice, and act as a concerted advocacy movement to demand necessary legal and institutional reform in Bangladesh.

The Coalition on Rape Law Reform is a pressure group to build momentum on key reform demands of the campaign. It is comprised of 17 different organisations working on ensuring justice for rape and undertaking advocacy and awareness activities at both the policy and grassroots level. The coalition has formulated a 10-point demand on justice for rape and is working on the implementation of these.

RLRN faces various different types of backlash, including regressive laws, deliberate lack of implementation, and de-legitimisation of the struggle and issues.