Crowley Calls on Bangladesh Authorities to Investigate Brutal Punishment of 16-Year-Old Rape Survivor

January 27, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —Congressman Joe Crowley, the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bangladesh, today urged the government of Bangladesh to investigate the alleged rape and subsequent punishment of a 16 year-old girl in Bangladesh.  The Daily Star, Bangladesh’s largest circulating English-language newspaper, reported that a teenage girl was raped and then she, not her rapist, received 101 lashes. 

“Recent local reports allege that a 16 year-old Bangladeshi girl has been doubly victimized – first by the heinous act of rape and then with 101 lashes delivered as ‘punishment’ for her rape and resulting pregnancy.  Her story suggests a possible brutal miscarriage of justice,” said Congressman Crowley.  “I urge the Bangladeshi authorities to begin an impartial investigation into this matter and move to bring any perpetrators to justice immediately.”   

The full article from The Daily Star can be accessed at  Additionally, the London-based Guardian newspaper reported that “elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.”  While Bangladeshi law is largely secular and does not tolerate rape, local elders often issue sentences and settle disputes, as it appears in this case.  Bangladesh is a moderate, predominantly Muslim country which has taken several strong steps to ensure women’s rights, including the provision of seats for women in the national parliament.

Congressman Crowley is the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bangladesh and has traveled to the country several times.  In this capacity, he has worked to promote programs to address poverty, corruption, national reconciliation, and women’s rights.  Congressman Crowley is a member of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.