Bangladesh will now apply the death penalty to convicted individuals for rape cases after days of intense protests called for the new law. Law Minister Anisul Haq said the nation's president will issue an ordinance on Tuesday to address the country's high level of sexual violence and abuse against women.
According to a report from the BBC, Bangladesh was jolted by massive protests over the weekend by demonstrators expressing outrage as they carried signs that read "Hang the rapists" and "No mercy to rapists."
The widespread outrage came after footage of a brutal gang assault on a 37-year-old woman had gone viral on social media.
Investigations on that particular case were taken on by the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission which led to the arrest of eight men who were allegedly involved in the attack. The incident occurred in the southeastern district of Noakhali, where the woman was repeatedly raped and terrorised over a period of time.
Activists claim there have been at least 1,000 rapes that have been reported in Bangladesh just this year. However, human rights advocates say that many cases often go unreported because most women fear they will be at the receiving end of so much stigma. More often than not, cases that have been reported usually have very low rates of conviction.
According to reports, about a fifth of the rape cases are gang rapes, which has brought the UN to weigh in on the recent gang rape in Noakhali. The organisation said this clearly shows the "state of social, behavioural and structural misogyny" in Bangladesh.
Protesters further stirred the issue of the country's rape culture by demanding faster trials and at the same time implementing changes on how rape cases are being handled by the prosecution.
In response to the current unrest, the government has now decided to sign the death penalty into an ordinance that will effectively pass it into law.
The government's decision to introduce death penalty has been warmly welcomed by many. However, gang rapes still continue to plague the headlines in recent days. Some speculate that it will take more than the death penalty to shift the mentality of people on sexual violence in the country.