Home » The first #MeToo in Bangladesh: Prioty breaks the silence

The first #MeToo in Bangladesh: Prioty breaks the silence

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read

IT Exclusive
Dhaka, Nov 15,

In what appears to be the first #MeToo disclosure in Bangladesh, Maksuda Akhter Prioty, Bangladeshi origin Irish fashion model and actress recently shocked Bangladesh when she spoke about her traumatic past. The 29-year-old model opened up about a horrific incident that took place three years ago.
She alleged in the Facebook post that she was sexually harassed by a prominent Bangladeshi businessman-politician Mr. Rafiqul Islam when she had gone to his office to collect payment for featuring in an advertisement for one of the group’s products. But the accused has denied the allegations. Ever since Prioty disclosed her past, this has become a burning topic of discussion in Bangladesh.
Prioty came to limelight after winning the prestigious beauty pageant title Miss Ireland 2014. A model by passion, a commercial pilot by profession and a social welfare worker by dedication, Prioty has been living in Ireland since 2001 with her two kids. Siam Sarower Jamil talked to her exclusively for Imphal Times.

Imphal Times: Usually people don’t want to disclose this kind of incidents, what encouraged you to do so?
Prioty: I have lived with this pain for the last three years, I had to let it go and move on so that I can live my life.
Imphal Times: In most of the cases people try to blame the victims rather than the accused, they try to justify that incident. Did you face similar kind of situation?
Prioty: Yes indeed, since I have disclosed this issue only in Bangladesh because the accuser is Bangladeshi and this incident occurred in Bangladesh. If I had disclosed this in Irish media I would not face those kinds of the situation at all. In Ireland, people blame the accuser, not the victim.
Imphal Times: Did you try to take any kind of legal step that time against him?
Prioty: I have reported in Irish Police, they will follow up through INTERPOL. And, I won’t go for the legal step against him in Bangladesh since I can’t rely on the legal system there since He (Mr. Rafiq) is more powerful in Bangladesh, anything can be possible for him.
Imphal Times: Did you get any support from the government yet?
Prioty: Which government? Bangladesh govt? Why would they support me? Who am I? If you mean Irish govt, I haven’t shared this yet since it will not be good for Bangladesh reputation and I don’t want that.
Imphal Times: You are the person who started “me too” movement first in Bangladesh, what do you think social media is responsive enough to drive this movement?
Prioty: I believe I at least could break the silence, people started to talk.
Imphal Times: Do you want to say anything about this impassive or unresponsive nature of Bangladeshi media about this movement?
Prioty: I was ready for this, I knew that Bangladesh media won’t be responsive about it. Because I know how do they operate, they don’t have that much freedom of work. No one wants to put their life at risk.
Imphal Times: Do you want to leave any message whom those are inspired by you and also to them, who are still quiet in spite of going through this kind of experience?
Prioty: I just want to request all the family members to support the victim at any cost if he or she shares the matter to them. Never tell the victim to “Stay quite”.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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