Support to survivors of gender-based violence in Bangladesh

MSI Bangladesh was supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) RESPOND project to develop the capacity of government service providers to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and provide them with information and care.

Charvi (not her real name) is 18 and lives in a remote part of Bangladesh.

With one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, Charvi, like over one in two young women in Bangladesh, was married before she was 18.

The family had no source of income, and Charvi had to leave school early as there was no money to pay school fees.

Charvi became pregnant and her husband physically abused her. She was in pain following the assault and was worried about her pregnancy.

Chavri shared her concerns with a neighbour who recommended a government health clinic some distance from their home. On the neighbour’s recommendation Charvi travelled some distance from home to a government health clinic.

At the health clinic, a family welfare visitor, Aadya, examined Charvi and noticed unusual marks on her body. The family welfare visitor had received training on sexual and gender-based violence from a master trainer from MSI Bangladesh, with the support of the RESPOND project. Aadya asked Charvi about the marks, and Charvi told her how she had been abused by her husband.

Aadya told Charvi about the government’s one-stop crisis centre, where she would be able to access legal support. She also introduced Charvi to a RESPOND project officer who could refer her to a specialist organisation for sexual and gender-based violence.

Visiting the clinic has given Charvi new hope. She received care, moral support and information from Aadya and the RESPOND project officer.

Aadya was grateful to have received the training from MSI Bangladesh that has meant she can help empower her clients with information and the ability to make decisions that are best for them and their families.