Thursday, November 27, 2008


Social Dialogue
by Nadira Gunatilleke

Saving the younger generation
Last week we discussed about Sri Lanka's latest world record on the narrowest gender gap in the world. Today we are going to talk about violence against women. Here we discuss gender in society. The world celebrated the `International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women's last Tuesday (November 25 ).

According to one of the latest countrywide surveys done by the Legal Aids Commission, it is discovered that 43 per cent of Sri Lankan women who travel by buses and trains experience sexual harassment. The same survey says that two out of every five Sri Lankan women who use public transport services are being subjected to sexual harassment and it is school girls and young working women who are being subjected to sexual harassment more often.

According to the Gender Based Violence Forum (GBV Forum) in Sri Lanka the most prevalent types of violence against women are rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, forced prostitution and trafficking. In many cases these violations are hidden, this is especially true in domestic violence, which according to the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women is reported to have been experienced by 60 per cent of Sri Lankan women.

Those are not very healthy trends to be tolerated for a country like Sri Lanka which has a rich cultural heritage. During the past years media and various persons, organisations dealt with violence against women and how it can be prevented.

Significant amendments such as the adoption of the Women's Charter, the amendments to the Penal Code in 1995, Domestic Violence Act in 2005 etc, have introduced. But it seems nothing has worked so far to minimise the violence against women.

The best example is the media reports on various crimes committed against women in Sri Lanka. Everyday we can read at least one heart breaking story which says how an innocent women is being abused, raped or killed by a person or persons.

Some people see this as isolated incidents which do not have an impact on the female community of the country. But can we ignore such incidents?

These are not instant incidents that occur with no background. It is the the background which make us frightened and sick if we dig into it.

Many of us think that violence against women is born instantly from nowhere. But if we carefully examine how it happens we can identify the birthplaces of violence against women. Let us take once incident that took place at one state school in Wekada, Panadura area last week.

A fifteen year old school boy was sacked from his school for possessing a CD containing a pornographic film. But the school authorities discovered it while searching something else. That was a packeted illegal liquor brought into the school to celebrate a birthday of another student. The school authorities searched for packeted 'Kassippu' and found the pornographic film in a bag of a student.

But the worst part is not that. According to the mother of the boy who was sacked from the school, her son wants her to sleep with him every night. Not because she is his mother and he wants to be with her. It is because she is a `woman'. "My son is completely changed and he is acting like a lunatic", she said. The crying mother told her story to the school authorities and all others who came forward to support her and her son. Here comes the real story which gave birth to violence against women ! A guy who had a CD shop (most CD shops have blue films) had given the blue film to the boy and the boy had watched several pornographic films under the guidance of this CD shop owner.

Now the school boy is under treatment. So far nothing has happened to the CD shop owner who cultivated a 'volcano' inside the school boy's mind. May be this person has already done the same to several other school boys. This is happening all over Sri Lanka and in every single village which looks innocent and calm from the outside.

How about our future female community going to live with this type of mentally sick males? These school boys will become adults in the near future and his evil mind will always look for flesh and blood in women. As a journalist I do not know whether there is a way to erase a child's memory using latest technology.

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