Nusrat Jahan Rafi was set on fire after reporting sexual harassment by her principal. She died in the hospital after suffering burns on 80% of her body.
Rafi’s death has sparked outrage and protests across Bangladesh, where thousands of people attended her funeral.
“Girls, they are in school, they are getting harassed. Girls in their family,” Bangladeshi actress and activist Alisha Pradhan said. “In Bangladesh, 70% of the women that are abused are being abused by their closer one, by their family members. This is beyond a punishment.”
On March 27, Rafi reported her principal to the police. She said he had touched her inappropriately during a meeting and had repeatedly sexually harassed her in the past. On officer filmed her statement and illegally shared it on social media— footage reportedly shows officers minimizing the incident.
The principal Maulana Siraj ud-Daula was arrested on March 27and many students reportedly organized protests to call for his release.
On April 6, Rafi went to school to take her final exams. She was tricked into going onto the school’s roof. A group of disguised students doused her in kerosene and lit her on fire.
A police chief said the incident was “made to look like a suicide,” but Rafi escaped and was able to make a statement before she died.