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Guest Post- GBV: Society is both the perpetrator and victim

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

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

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.

Sources: and


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.

Day: Twelve

This image is free of copyrights. Feel free to use this image to raise awareness about gender based violence.

Text can be changed.

Day twelve features a photograph by Salaf Tegal.

‘Violence’ is a harsh word. On hearing the phrase ‘violence against women’ what comes to mind may be brutal images of-  an acid burnt face, a severed limb, a broken bone or a black eye. Those are the more apparent forms of abuse. Equally horrendous but less visible is verbal abuse.

Many women are subjected to mental trauma- whether it’s their husbands, fathers or employers who issue the verbal onslaught. Derided daily in abusive and foul language most of these women believe they are worthless.

Recognising the severity of verbal abuse and the long term mental impact it has on women, Women In Need (WIN) provide counselling and other relevant services for victims of verbal abuse. Of the victims who have walked through their doors, WIN says they are severely psychologically affected.

All human beings deserve to be treated with respect.

Watch this blog for the next 5 days. We’ll be posting a featured photograph each day till 10 December as part of WMC campaign against GBV.

For more information about this campaign click here

Salaf Tegal is a guest contributor. He’s currently studying at Raffles- Malaysia, he’s an artist and photographer, more of his work can be found  here.

TEDxColombo on Sri Lanka Today

YaTV’s Sri Lanka Today Program featured a segment on TEDx Colombo, now available on youtube:

Some YaTV content is now happily available  on twitter and the Sri Lanka Today program seem to be runing their own blog.

Poetry with Teeth

Poetry has long been a form of activism. From the early Greek philosophers who wrote promoting their thoughts and ideas in the form of the acclaimed dialogue, contributing to the reshaping of their societies, to the greats of the Enlightenment that helped shape the Industrial Revolution to modern day activists and slam poetry, poems have always been used to play a role in identifying the connection between the material world around us and the relating emotions that run through our collective conscience.

Human beings are primarily creatures of emotion living in a society structured around the assumption that we are in fact, logical. Therefore we first and foremost examine our feelings with questions to make sense of the world around us. So all our standings in relation to external events are ultimately based on emotion and feeling, ‘rationality’ is simply what arises as the ultimate result of this examination, it’s roots are invariably plugged into some base ideology that is held as belief.

Poetry delineates emotions and can inspire raw feeling in people that can change their outlook. And, like any form of activism, poetic activism also changes and inspires society into taking new directions. It taps into people’s core feelings, identifies with them and exposes them. It inspires action sometimes, or sometimes just an understanding nod, but there is a message, and its usually enough if it is communicated.

Now we don’t need to get all hoity toity about it. You don’t have to be a Ph.D in philosophy or decked out with the finest wordplay of a slam poet’s arsenal to engage in activism. Poetic activism is everyday, its everywhere, its in blogposts, facebook notes, you tube. Anywhere there is creativity, emotion and an appeal to a change of norms, there is poetic activism.

If you haven’t already, check out Def Poetry Jam. If you haven’t already seen or heard of Def poetry then its time you did, they sound like rappers minus the bling bling and pro drug advocacy. Artistes like Steve Coleman, Lemon, Suheir Hammad, Rives etc. explore themes as diverse as racism, love, terrorism, nationalism and most other isms that you can think of, and then some.

Political tension and repressed emotions like fear and anger etc cause a lot of people to speak out. Sri Lanka has been a hotbed of fear, anger and suspicion especially over the past few months, when the war came finally crunching down to its bloody stop. From introspections of ‘water filter’ warriors fearing armed attacks on the way to work, to musings on the nature of the national flag, to the denouncing of barbaric practices, to  patrotism and the spilling of blood, to my humble attempt at describing my feelings of dependence on independence day, to attempts at distilling freedom, individualism and control; poetic activism is all over the place. If you’re reading this, just click through some blogs and see what you can find. Or start writing yourselves.

There has been an increasing surge of poetry as a form of activisim throughout the last century, complicating W.H Auden’s claim that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’. Poetry, or poetic literature has influenced history throughout its existence. Or some like to think so. Significant events throughout history have always been accompanied by their own unique brand of literature and poetic activism, the most recent the African American uprising of the last century. But did these artists actually change societies with their craft? or were they simply a symptom of changing times? And are poets and poetic activists simply another brand of armchair/notebook/facebook warriors?

Halik Azeez

“poems are bullshit unless they have teeth” Amiri Baraka

Halik is a poet who blogs here, and occationaly graces Open Mic. He wrote a piece for the BB blog a while back here, and we’re still quite eagerly awaiting his abduction, so that we can blog about it. He is also in charge of the Communications section of BB, which would explain a lot about how talkative we are.

YATV takes to the air


Hilmy Ahamed, CEO of YATV speaks about the new venture at the event held to celebrate YATV hitting the airwaves, or rather, cabled and the internet.

Young Asia Television, or YATV launched it new venture YA Sri Lanka last week with a view to provide interactive programming on a wide range of programming from Entertainment to Education and Business.

YATV has been in the forefront of value-based programming in the Asian region and has been a pioneer in changing the look and feel of the television screen, the television experience, in Sri Lanka and many other countries in the region. YATV introduced younger programme producers, a wider range of perspectives, new programme formats and used innovative computer graphics and animation, adopting cost-effective production processes through affordable technology. YATV’s programming provided the space for a diverse group of people – and not just young people – to express their views.

YATV relies strongly on its youthful human resources who are equal to any in the global Television industry. Their out-put has been of superior technical and content quality.

With the launch of YA Sri Lanka, YATV takes another significant step in the progress of television in the Sri Lanka by partnering with SLT’s PEOTV to bring interactive television programming for education information and development.

In addition to catering to urban youth audiences, YA Sri Lanka is committed to reaching out to the audiences in rural areas.

YA Sri Lanka hopes to entertain, but more importantly, facilitate wide-ranging discourse among people -exchanging information, bringing awareness, enabling understanding.

The value of media, especially television, as a tool for learning has been proven time and again. Its capacity to inform, educate and encourage behavior change has made it an indispensable tool of most social campaigns. With respect to youth audiences, research has shown that TV has the ability to create powerful touchstones, enabling young people to share experiences with others. So it seems a logical step for YA SRI LANKA to harness the potential of this powerful and influential medium.

YA Sri Lanka’s partnership with PEOTV will be an opportunity to provide an alternative to the mainstream, An opportunity to reinvent the usefulness of the medium of television. An opportunity to share ideas and knowledge, gain skills and capacities, build communities and bridges.

Editor’s Note: YATV has been a one of the strong pillars that has helped Beyond Borders grow, and we pride ourselves in the long and warm relationship that we share, running beyond a mere a work relationship into sphere of friendships. Beyond Borders extends our hearfelt congratulations to YATV, and wishes them the best for the future. And we would obviously look forward to YATV, and now YA Sri Lanka helping us more.

To see a the instances in which Beyond Borders, or BBites were on YATV, click here. You can see the YATV YouTube channel here, and YATV can be found here on their official website.

No Noise for Gender Violence

Anindita Sengupta blogging at Ultra Violet wonders whether violence against women has gotten so acceptable that it “ceases to even horrify” anymore.

editors and senior journalists of prominent newspapers obviously do not think this is an issue worth discussing. So there is no series of columns giving insights into the various aspects and implications. No “Lead India”-like campaign in ToI. No railing editorials from aging and mostly senile columnists. (Shashi Tharoor, when you’re done with lamenting the fact that we Indian women are not wearing the sari any more, you think you could turn your attention to this?)

I get the disturbing sense that violence against women is so accepted within the framework of our society, something that we have become so used to, that it ceases to even horrify anymore.

Meanwhile, can you name 16 forms of violence against women? Are you sure you don’t know anyone facing one of these? Are you sure you’re not facing one of these yourself? [link]

Come to think of it, We didn’t really hear anything about it in Sri Lanka either. The full piece makes for an interesting read. The forum theatre on thursday will have some linkages with the theme.