It’s admirable to know that there is at least a certain section of society concerned about the mental and physical violence that women and men have to undergo, but I believe that activism which encourages victims to voice their sufferings should not just stop there.
Voicing to the world about the brutality one undergoes or underwent is the first step to empowerment and emancipation. However, to see the end of gender based violence, victims should not be empowered to shed light about the violence they endure but also offered a strong safety net that allows them look beyond their past and begin a new life, free from violence. This safety net and support system is what will encourage other victims to shed light about their situation.
Victims should not be subjected to victimization yet again by an unforgiving society. Stigma will only kill the victims’ spirit to move on, and build a safe life away from violence, that dogged their past. I personally believe that the foundation of gender based violence begins with attitudes. A man’s inherent superiority complex and a woman’s strong feelings self unworthiness, leads one gender to believe that it has unconditional power to oppress the other and the other accepts this repression as a norm.
This superiority complex among men, which is subtly drilled in since childhood becomes a fire breathing monster when one becomes an adult, thus giving them the notion that abusing a woman is a natural right that has been bestowed to them. Most women on the other hand, have been made to believe by archaic societal norms that men are the superior beings; therefore they create this notion in their subconscious mind that it is acceptable to be beaten, harassed or abused.
Sadly, most married women, have become silent victims who suffer the most, because of a ‘so called’ legal bond that prevents them speaking against the violation of their rights. I believe that gender based violence will end that day parents treat their sons and daughters equally, thereby setting an example that women and men are of equal status. Whether you a man or woman, you should not tolerate any kind of mental or physical abuse hurled at you by anyone. Violence is unacceptable- tolerating it will only validate it, further. Everyone deserves better.
Guest post by Shabnam Farook. She is a food columnist whose passions include good cheesecake, sushi and music by John Mayer.
Day fifteen features a photograph by T.
Intimate partner violence is a little studied, yet frequently occurring phenomenon in Sri Lanka. IPV occurs in many ways, including physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse by a spouse. Reports show that there is a high prevalence of abuse such as marital rape and sexual abuse, wife beating and assault with a weapon.
Sri Lankan society tends to take the very backward view that what happens within the home should stay within the home, and that some abuse is always a part of marriage. The Demographic and Health Survey 2006/2007 shows that between 20-50% of women think a husband is justified in wife-beating for reasons such as “argues with him”, “goes out without telling him” and “refuses to have sexual intercourse with him”. A study conducted among a sample of undergraduate medical students at the University of Colombo revealed that “33.4% of the students justified wife beating, and 63.1% stated that they believed women bear a proportionately larger responsibility for the violence perpetrated against them” (Jayatilleke et al, 2010)
Perceptions and attitudes play an important role in how women are perceived within a relationship, but also affect the help that is available to them after violence occurs. The attitudes and sensitivity of police, healthcare workers and the community are important in helping to alleviate IPV.
While society turns a blind eye, many reasons have been cited for IPV. Alcoholism, early marriage age, low income and existing patriarchal attitudes, among a slew of other reasons, all contribute towards IPV. None of them, however, are an excuse.
One day left of the 16 day campaign… Tomorrow 10 December, will feature the last photograph of the 16 day online campaign against gender based violence by the WMC campaign against GBV.
For more information about this campaign click here
T is a member of the steering committee of Beyond Borders. She works in the development sector and has mad culinary skills. She’s a writer, a poet and she dabbles in photography. She blogs at Dance in a Triangle. Her opinions are her own.
So, The WMC is having a 16 days of activism thing-> Link. which hopes to inform people about gender based violence and things. I had no idea what gender based violence in Sri Lanka is like, so I googled it. There is some violence against men, but I couldn’t uncover much about that and the whole 16 days thing seems hell-bent on women. Apparently it’s mostly violence against women, usually takes place in domestic settings and is almost evenly distributed among all areas and societies.
This is not surprising. Women get enough shit as it is, what with passive aggressive blogposts that reek of discontent with the female populace by snarky post-adolescents and the whole internet thinking they belong in kitchens. It doesn’t help that the legal system doesn’t offer much solace for many victims, and only a small percentage of cases are actually reported at all. What this means is that well, it’s up to you to do something. *cue motivational speech*
Violence, be it domestic violence, sexual harassment or mental trauma do not go unnoticed, most of the time. Just like an excessive amount of commas in a sentence.
*ba dum chingggg*
Stop treating women like they’re some other species. I keep seeing people who are all “Oh yeah I respect women, totally man.” and then start spewing stereotypes like a confederate soldier. It’s not about respecting women, for Christ’s sake, it’s about respecting your fellow human beings. They are not from Venus, and no matter what you tell yourself, you’re not from Mars. All of us crawled out of the sea together. The female of the species did not accidentally crawl out of the sea and into a prehistoric kitchen, in which they’ve been stuck ever since.
Women, don’t let anyone tell you you’re anything less than the other gender. Even the little “You know no machang, women are like that”. Women are like what? Enlighten me, dear caveman. We’re not living in some 1940′s Disney movie. There’s an infinite amount of things to get over, like parents raising their children to believe women are the fairer sex, people’s primitive instincts to assault anyone weaker than them and inane cultural influences designed to keep men in power. You have to start somewhere, I guess.
Jerry is a member of the steering committee of Beyond Borders. He’s a closet hard-core feminist, a tech geek and has a phobia for elephants (he will deny it vehemently though). He blogs here- ASOB,NQIM. His opinions are his own.
As most of my friends and I have had our fair share of encounters with perverts, mostly while travelling in public transport. Initially when a woman encounters such weird disturbing characters we become scared and even come to a point to be ashamed that maybe it was our fault for have invited such due to our dress code or so on. But due to the mentality of such perverts they actually tend to enjoy making a woman feel uncomfortable and vulnerable and probably assume we will not make a commotion and carry on with their pervert-ish acts.
It is well known that in society there exists people with diverse mentalities but harassment is not something any woman should face in order to satisfy anyone idiosyncrasies. Any person found to have caused harassment is possible to be faced with penal sanctions and no woman should stay quiet about it, speak up and stand up for all women! since no one should tolerate harassment.
One project that interested me was one carried out by Reach Out with the help of Beyond Borders that creates awareness through forum theatre relating to harassment of women in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately I could not commit to this project due to busy work schedules, but something anyone should be a part of, since it speaks of a social issue that needs to be addressed by all.
Recently I came across a post by this site called Hollaback, which is a global movement to end street harassment and HollabackMumbai is where Indian women can share their experiences of such harassment and create awareness. One article that caught my eye was the following, and thought of sharing it with everyone.
Original post by Radhi de Silva.
We have just launched a website about the constitution. Now stop that yawn and go check it out, because we’ve tried to convert the heavy worded constitution of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka to something more well, readable.
The project is a part of Beyond Borders’ Peace and Governance initiative. The site will have Sinhala and Tamil versions soon. In the meanwhile we would really like to hear what you think about the English version that is already up.
Why we did it
If you haven’t already rushed off to check out our shiny new website then let us tell you why we thought of doing it. Beyond Borders Peace and Governance from the outset had the primary goal of combating youth apathy towards governance issues. Our research indicated that a lot of youth simply don’t bother with getting to know the fundamentals of our governance structure unless forced to by way of academics or threat of assault by blunt metal object.
One of the many reasons for this, we discovered, was the unavailability of youth friendly information sources. A lot of young people feel marginalized by our system. Others feel used by the powers that be. So the website idea came about as a humble effort by us to provide a young person friendly version of the constitution.
There, that’s the short answer. The long answer is too long to type, but this is the general gist of it. Remember to leave a comment about the site. Bouquets and brickbats equally appreciated.
We visited a community of Northern Displaced IDPs in Puttlam recently. This was part of our Peace and Governance initiative, an effort to improve cohesion between youth and the entity we call Governance.
We had 3 discussions in course of our visit; the first was with a group of youth, the second with a young provincial council member elected to Jaffna and the last was with a few officials and community representatives from the Community Trust Fund.
Their problems are complex and community discourse has reached a fever pitch with the war ending and the possibilities of relocating to their old homes becoming a reality.
But we found yet another issue that mainly was faced by the youth; young people are facing an inability to act upon their right to vote. Most youngsters who have left the territories before the age of being eligible to vote have not received their voting registration forms yet.
So we got together with a bunch of other young people and wrote a letter to the Elections Commissioner about it. A lot of much more useful work has been done in this regard of course by organizations like CPA and CTF. We heard that the elections commissioner was due to release a circular enabling them to vote during this election, but are yet to find out what came of it.
A casual report on our discussion with the IDP youth can be viewed here.
A Forum Theater Performance on Learning Disabilities
- Date: 29th August 2009
- Time: 10.00am to 12.00pm
- Venue: Punchi Theatre, Borella
Entrance by invitation only, if you want one email us to info[at]beyondborders.lk with a couple of lines explaining your interest in attending the play.
What is Forum Theatre?
Forum theater began when Augusto Boal had the brilliant idea of allowing the audience to stop, modify and change the course of his drama performances; enhancing the overall experience of everyone involved in a novel manner. Today, this particular branch of theatre is known as Forum Theater.
FT is useful in bringing out complex issues attached to sensitive social topics and has been used by Beyond Borders to highlight a range of social issues during the last few years.
What is ‘Jerk?’
This time around the Forum Theater tackles the tricky subject of the misconceptions and issues facing youngsters with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It takes you through the roller coaster ride of our protagonist Rajeev, as he copes with the effects of ADHD and society’s often antagonistic reactions to it. It will be a morning of exciting infotainment and learning.
For invites call
0777 491 718 or 0777 335 320 (limited invites)
or email us info[at]beyondborders.lk