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Sunday, 6 March 2011

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Government Gazette

Violence against women, theme of Womenís Day:

How long more should women endure violence?

Celebrations across the country will be held to mark International Womenís day which falls on March 8 annually.

It is an undisputable fact that women have come a long way in almost every industry that operates in the world and they are making their presence felt in everything that they venture into. But the level of domestic violence which is still inflicted on women cannot go unnoticed at any height of the celebration.

Colombo may be regarded as a place where it is assumed all is going well, but we are culpable to turning a blind eye to a woman living on the streets being beaten by her drunken husband because we think she has chosen to tolerate him.

Nobody should tolerate violence against women under any circumstance as there is no excuse for such acts and any attempt to condone such gruesome behaviour should be considered as justification of such violence!

Women living in slums in and around Colombo, the suburbs or even villages should be enlightened to protest against domestic violence as they go through enough difficulty trying to manage between their multi-faceted roles in daily life, be it as a mother, a wife, a daughter or a career woman whilst most of their husbands who are ready to raise a hand to them sit at home, and watch television or take a stroll to a turf accountantís joint to bet on a horse which can never run in this country.

I have heard men say when they are questioned about assaulting women, that they do so to discipline her. How can a sane mind come up with such an irrational answer is something that leaves me flummoxed. Some also say that they did not intend to assault women but when they are caught up in the moment, assault was the right course of action.

It has been found assaulting culture does not only exist among spouses but also male siblings and that pre-marital partners take the liberty to assault women who they claim are physically weaker than men.

Sadly, even women propagate violence against women by men. The conventional feud between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law is evident in modern society.

Although we sweep this feud under the carpet, it pops up repeatedly because we have not resolved it yet. Violence against women through such feuds has been mitigated to some extent, but we are very far from eradicating it.

The truth of the matter is, if a man believes it is acceptable to assault a woman, that makes him a chauvinist and this mentality really requires changing. If you find it hard to change it, seek professional help.

We have tolerated violence against women by their husbands for the sake of societal norms and we have forgotten what it truly means to take a womanís hand in marriage. Marriage more than anything means a physical and emotional safety net for women, so what is the point in exerting pressure on her to stick with a man who is ready to assault her?

This does not only defeat the fundamental purpose of marriage but also strips her of her identity and confidence as women get battered by the assault. Once physical safety is compromised, mental safety only remains an illusion.

There are men who think treating a woman once in a blue moon to a candle lit dinner gives them the licence to violate them for a lifetime. Despite that, women generally like flowers or being told they look pretty as the bright blue sky. Letís treat a woman like a human being who deserves respect, compassion and decency.

 

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