In the first six months of the current year, 572 children were sexually assaulted in the country, equal to the total number of such cases last year, according to a report.
Of them, 23 children, including a boy child, were killed after rape, said Tamanna Rahman, a member of the National Committee for International Rural Women's Day Celebration scheduled to be held tomorrow.
In most cases, 75 percent of children are sexually harassed in families and familiar surroundings and by friends, relatives and neighbours, she also said.
The National Committee on observation of the international day organised the press conference at the National Press Club today. Tamanna Rahman presented the keynote paper at the event presided over by Chairperson of the National Committee Shamima Akhter.
Prof Momtaz Begum, chairman of the National Women's Organisation (Jatiyo Mahila Sangstha) was present at the event as the chief guest.
Tamanna Rahman said, generally, children of lower households are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse because they have no family protection or no idea about security.
Apart from these, children are soft, non-violent and can be silenced even without fear. Parents are more concerned about keeping children in respect of family honour, she added.
Among others, Mahbub Alam Firoz, member of the committee, Syada Shamima Sultana, secretary of the Dhaka District committee, Badrul Alam, president of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, and Mustafa Kamal Akanda, coordinator of the EquityBD, also spoke at the press conference.
Mostafa Kamal Akand said the rape cases should be settled in a speedy trial. If the victims or their family goes to the police station, they should accept the case without delay and should also arrest the accused quickly.
Prof Momtaz Begum said children's voices should be listened to by making a friendly relationship with them. "We need to create a normal environment for them with ensuring necessary security and protection."
Shamima Akhter said, according to psychiatric doctors, children who have been tortured have suffered various types of physical and mental problems later in life. Some, in turn, also become sexual oppressors. Because these children are in trauma, they need special services.
International Rural Women's Day is celebrated in more than 50 districts of the country. EquityBD, an alliance of several non-government organisations and civil society organisations, serves as the secretariat of the National Committee for International Rural Women's Day Celebration.