November 25 is observed as Antorjatic Nari Nirjaton Protirodh Dibash. Violence against women is the barrier on the way to achieving equality of men and women all over the world. Violence against women is a major human rights issue. At least one-fifth of the worlds female population have been physically or sexually abused by a man at some time in their life. Violence against women is an enormous global problem that will take massive global action to solve. Supremacy of males is an age-old and deep-rooted concept, and cannot be done away with overnight. The very threatening notion that men are superior in terms of power and are rightful custodians of women, who are quite incapable of surviving alone, is an important and influential social factor. Women, irrespective of class, face problems of early marriage, dowry and for the most part, devotion to the sole interest (dignity, security and overall comfort) of the family, as viewed from the prism of male predominance. There should be a congenial atmosphere where a woman, being an equal partner of a man, can have a peaceful and harmonious relationship with her male counterpart. A secure, prosperous and happy family life is keenly desired for the sake of the generations yet to come, so that a sound and healthy society, nay a strong nation, can be built. On the whole, the goal is to achieve a peaceful but dynamic life for women. Women are vulnerable to domestic and non-domestic violence. In our society, a majority of women in the rural areas believe that a husband generally has the right to hit his wife. Sexual crimes are seen as dishonour for the victim of the crime and not for the offender. The penal code does not include domestic violence. Thus, even life-threatening cases of domestic violence may not be filed by the police, and will remain private. Violence against women is one of the most pervasive problems affecting womens dignity, self-esteem, and psychological and physical health. Women are often ignorant of their rights because of illiteracy, less access to economic opportunities, and strong social stigma. Many NGOs operate programmes to raise awareness of womens rights, and to encourage and assist them in exercising those rights. The government has taken up multi-sectoral programmes to reduce violence against women. Prevention and elimination of violence against women from the society is a formidable challenge. Combating such challenges is possible if comprehensive analysis of the causes and factors of violence is undertaken. Domestic violence is caused primarily by the husbands and mothers-in-law, mainly due to delay in the payment of dowry. In our society, where the giving of dowry is practiced, the custom can be fatal for women whose parents are unable to meet demands for gifts or money. Violence that begins with threats may end in suicide or death from injuries, or even homicide. Recommendations to prevent violence against women: -A participatory social mobilisation campaign may be launched together by the government, NGOs and the private sector. The planned actions to eradicate violence against women need to be integrated with national plans of development, especially in the poverty reduction strategies. The private sector may extend assistance to build social capital, particularly as a safety net for the victims in the poor families, so that they can seek justice, medical care and rehabilitation services; -Future reformative action by the government would need to be focused on achieving more intensive and concerted participation of both the police and the courts so that they too can contribute towards eradicating the social evil of violence against women. Male partners should be sensitised to raise their awareness of the adverse consequences of violence against women; -In Bangladesh, specially in the rural societies, religious leaders (imams, kazis, mattobars) play an important role as local arbitrators (gram shalish) and give fatwas for inflicting punishment (stoning, dorras, social ostracisation), particularly against women. Changing the attitudes and orientation of these people needs involvement of the local government; -Where necessary, existing laws relating to violence against women must be amended and implemented in the light of the Beijing Conference; -Withdrawal of the reservation of CEDAW Articles 2 & 16.c. for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women; -The law enforcing agencies and the local governments need to be more proactive and positively sensitive towards cases of violence against women so that timely actions are taken against the perpetrators. To eradicate violence from the society, emphasis should be given on the empowerment of women, and on ensuring a secure and progressively dynamic life for them. Women no longer have to become victims of heinous crimes. Mahmuda Hussain is a womens rights activist and Member, Gender Training Core Group The Daily Star