In Bengali, the word Birangona
means "brave woman." The Bangladeshi government gave this title to women who were raped by the Pakistani army in the nine months of the Liberation War of 1971. In a systematic campaign of genocidal rape, thousands of girls and women (with official estimate being 200,000) were tortured, raped and executed. Many of these women migrated to India to give birth, while many committed suicide after being rejected by their families and society at large.
The title Birangona was meant to be "the War Heroine
", instead it became "dishonored
" or "violated woman
" and is synonymous with rape, abortion, suicide and war. This year Bangladesh celebrated 48 years of victory - the independence and victory of this young nation is not complete without the stories of these brave women. Forty-eight years on, these women still seek justice and support from the society, state and the world at large.
This year, I am joining the International Four Day Walk
in the spirit of Women and in particular, the forgotten women of Bangladesh- their stories demonstrate the world’s earliest and most heinous genocides, where perhaps the largest number of women were targeted by systematic rape, torture and subsequent execution.
While many women are now part of the state funding process, many others have not been enlisted or are awaiting enlistment. At the moment Naripokkho
is giving 23 women a monthly stipend of USD 25. The yearly subscription for each woman including all costs for counselling support is USD 300.
Please help me raise awareness and funds for these brave and unforgettable heroes - the forgotten women of Bangladesh. For every USD 1500 raised, I will donate USD 100.