Police arrested a "mentally-challenged" youth Thursday for the "rape and assault" of a 100-year-old woman in Jashore Sadar upazila's Chanchra union.
Rubayet Hossain, 20, sexually assaulted the women on Wednesday and was caught by the centenarian's family members.
The victim's daughter-in-law said, "My mother-in-law was found bleeding severely in the afternoon. Rubayet was in the room at that time and his actions indicated that he violated her."
My mother-in-law was rushed to Jashore Medical Hospital where she underwent surgery, she said.
Dr Arif Ahmed, residential medical officer of the hospital, said: "Evidence has been collected to find out if the elderly woman was sexually assaulted. The details can be confirmed when we get the medical report."
Also read: Housewife ‘gang-raped’ in Patuakhali
Kotwali Police Station Inspector (Investigation) Sheikh Tasmim Alam said, "Chanchra police has detained Rubayet. However, he is mentally-challenged, it has been learned."
"His legs were chained on Wednesday. However, the young man managed to unchain himself and went to the victim's house."
Bangladesh's rape epidemic
Bangladesh is facing a 'rape epidemic' despite recent the government's approval of the death penalty for the crime – not that evidence ever suggested it would have the desired effect.
Earlier last month, a police headquarters report said 26,695 rape cases had been filed across the country in the last five years.
But human rights organisations say the actual numbers are much higher as many cases are not even reported. And not all make news – only the most brutal or deeply disturbing ones get reported in the media.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) data shows that 1,018 children were raped last year alone, but only 683 police cases were filed. Also, 116 victims were 6 years old or below.
Overall, 1,627 rape cases were reported last year and 53 of the victims were killed by the attackers while 14 took their own lives, the data showed.
However, ASK's data was likely just the tip of the iceberg, according to aid agencies, who report that most women are too afraid to report rape.
Rapes and sexual violence have been in the spotlight in Bangladesh since October 2020 when the country was rocked by protests after a woman was attacked and raped in Noakhali.
In November last year, Bangladesh introduced the death penalty for rape, following days of protests against sexual violence against women in several cities across Bangladesh.
But human rights organisations say the move will not solve the country's rape crisis, as victims of sexual assault are often stigmatised in society.