Witness Reports

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Saleha Begum, interviewed for a September 2011 story in Women’s eNews, was part of a group of women that was repeatedly gang raped, and later shot. She described being rescued from a pile of dead bodies by a Bangladeshi “freedom fighter,” only to then endure abuse as a rape survivor:

Begum said her captors—Pakistani Army soldiers known as the “Khans”—had bound the women to green banana trees, and “burned our faces and bodies with cigarettes. My body was swollen, I could barely move," she said. Between being raped, she was given some bread or a few fried vegetables, she said.

Another survivor tells of how the rejection from her community was so strong that she and other captives preferred to stay with their rapists after being rescued, rather than face being shamed:

"We went with them voluntarily because when we were being pulled out from the bunkers by the Indian soldiers, some of us half-clad, others half-dead, the hatred and deceit I saw in the eyes of our countrymen standing by, I could not raise my eyes a second time. They were throwing various dirty words at us ... I did not imagine that we would be subjected to so much hatred from our countrymen."