A new study has pointed out that fifty percent of all the disabled children in Bangladesh are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of close relatives.
The study, which was the joint effort by The Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation (BPF) and Save the Children Sweden-Denmark, found that most of the offenders are men.
Of the victims, 52 percent are girls and 48 percent boys, aged between seven and 18 years. Those with mental disabilities are at even greater risk, the study revealed.
According to the 2001 census, Bangladesh has nearly 12m disabled people.
Researchers collected data in six districts over six months and based their study on 216 disabled children and 535 disabled adults. They also talked to family members, teachers and NGO workers.
"Disabled children are exposed to a higher risk of sexual harassment or rape because they cannot protect themselves," the BBC quoted Selina Ahmed, director of child protection, Save the Children Sweden-Denmark, as saying.
"Intellectually challenged children are more harassed than other disabled children because they do not understand what is good touch and what is bad touch," she said.
In many cases, even teachers and therapists were found to be guilty.
"When they [disabled children] are harassed, they get hardly any legal support. They are often treated with disdain," Ahmed said.
"And in most cases, the tormentors escape punishment," Ahmed added.
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