43% women sexually harassed in buses, trains
By Piyalal Sirisena
Forty three percent of women commuters are victims of sexual harassment in public transport an islandwide survey has revealed, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, S. S. Wijerathne said at a press conference in Colombo yesterday.
Though Sri Lanka has secured 12th place for maintaining minimum gender discrimination out of 192 countries the sexual harassments in society has not decreased despite the recent legal reforms to protect women against such harassments, he said.
The press conference was held to mark the International Day for Preventing Violence Against Women.
Inaction on the part of the authorities, and the lack of knowledge of legal provisions has led to increase abuse of women in public transportation. The research has revealed that 30% of 5000 women participants in the survey said they believed that the law is not enforced against the culprits.
The chairman said that the Commission expects to expand its legal aid services in future by increasing the number of Legal Aid centers in the country. The Legal Aid Commission has 48 branches countrywide and it is planned to have a branch of the Legal Aid Commission in every court complex, he said.
Retired Judge Hector Yapa said the lack of legal knowledge in our society has made many of citizens inactive in protecting their rights. Though there is a presumption that everyone should know the law of the country, legal education has not become a part of the school curriculum, he said. He emphasized that law should be made a subject in schools and that would help resolve many of present social issues.