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Wariyapola incident the vice and the voice

27 August 2014 07:32 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Thilini Amalka, who made headlines in mainstream media and social media over the week was arrested by Wariyapola Police yesterday for the mere reason of slapping a man who had allegedly sexually abused her. She was also produced in court and given bail.

When the incident with a video in which she slapped the man—but without mentioning why she was compelled to such an action— was released in the social media there were many comments condemning her action and supporting the stereotyped thinking that women must accept any rawdy joke from a man at any given instance. Unfortunately there were only a few comments to defend her.  However Amalka was summoned by the Warliyapola police who recorded a statement from her, arrested, produced before court and bailed finally— an action that made her to languish for more than eight hours before country’s law enforcement and justice system. Unfortunately there were only a few comments even by the women themselves to support her desperate situation. The
Dailymirror spoke to some of the human rights and women’s rights activists about their opinions on Thilini’s arrest and subsequent grant of bail. 


Disgusting conduct of the man



According to Thilini’s statement to the Police on the said day, Selva had followed her asking for her phone number. She had refused. Then he had got into the bus she was in and pestered her for the number again. Then he had got down from the bus and made some indecent remarks about her. Later he had exposed his sexual organ and masturbated in front of her. Again he had asked for the number.

At that point she, along with her friend has got down from the bus.  When the Time keeper had arrived, Thilini had narrated what had happened. Then he had slapped Selva and also Thilini’s friend. After this encounter Selva was taken to the place where the circulated video was which went viral on the websites. Thilini slapped him there which many caught on their mobile phones. Many have witnessed the incident but none had taken any action.
 


Is it wrong to beat a man who showed his sexual organs and  masturbated in front of a woman and asked her to have sex with him in public?

Shamila Daluwatte- Attorney at Law and Women’s Rights Activist


Shamila Daluwatte said Thilini Amalka was not arrested and was told to come to the Police Station to give a statement.

“So far, even at this moment I am talking to you, she is at the police station giving the statement.

Unfortunately all the media reported that she was taken into custody,” she said.

Daluwatte said people point fingers at the victim not knowing the actual facts of the incident.“Apparently this man who was drunk had showed his sexual organ and masturbated in front of her. Then he had asked for her number saying that he wants to have sex with her. The girl realized the gravity of his remarks later. Before she hit the man her friend and the time keeper also hit the man,” she said.As she points out under section345 of the Penal code showing sexual organs is an offence. Hence hitting him was done for Thilini’s self defence. If Thilini was arrested for assaulting that man then her friend and also the time-keeper must also be arrested.

“There were many rape incidents reported from Kahawatte, Nooriwatte; also the incident in Tangalle where a foreigner was raped. The so-called media was not there to make a voice. But outrageously they highlighted this incident. I do not think what Thilini did was wrong. If that happened to me I would have done the same thing,” she said.Daluwatte said Thilini could be arrested under the offence of assault but bail could be granted.

“She can be arrested under assault but it is an offence which bail can be granted.  In a country where many rapists come out scot free, I believe she should not be taken to custody,” she said. She also said if the case was going to Courts the girl should be given a hearing first as the man has clearly committed an offence under Sec. 345 of the Penal Code, which is a sexual offence.



I too have faced these types of situations, why did police arrest her?

Hirunika Premachandra- Western Provincial Councillor
 

As a woman I too have faced such incidents.  

“I also have faced these kinds of situations. I believe women should have patience. Slapping him more than once is a bit too much. As women we should have our patience. But I am not saying that we should tolerate. Street harassment must be stopped,” she said. With regard to the girls’ arrest she said maybe that happened because she must have used excess force. But she said she cannot comment about the incident as it was not properly reported. “What we must question is what actually made her slap him.  Also why did the police arrest her now? If they had to arrest for assaulting the man they should have done that during that week itself. They arrested maybe because there is a big commotion about the incident,” she said. Ms. Premachandra said no one has the right to make remarks about another persons’ attire.  She said the fact that the man complained about hearing problems after two weeks of the incidents was a bit hilarious. “The man must be complaining about hearing problem now maybe someone is instructing him.”
I do not believe his story. I do not think her slapping was that grave. What I believe police should have taken action at that point. If they acted on this at the very instance the incident would not have dragged this long,” she said.


 Also why did the police arrest her now? If they had to arrest for assaulting the man they should have done that during that week itself

 


Social media harrassed her doubly

Sudarshana Gunawardane- Attorney at Law and Executive Director Rights Now- Collective for Democracy


Sudarshana Gunawardane, who is a human rights activist, said their organization provided a lawyer for Thilini. According to him the Police can refer the matter to a Mediation Board without arresting the girl.
“Thilini is not arrested so far. She was asked to come to the Wariyapola Police Station to give a statement. She can be arrested for simple hurt as there is evidence. But his matter can be easily referred to a Mediation Board. Arresting is quite beyond from what is necessary,” he said.

He said that it was mandatory to investigate what exactly happened.  “The incident must be properly investigated. This woman was provoked to hit the man as she was sexually harassed. Verbal harassment is also harassment,” he said.

Gunawardane said many social media reported the incident in an undue manner.

“The girl had to undergo continuous harassment. There was structural harassment to be accurate through the media. No one took action against that.  The media has made her a culprit instead of reporting that she is the victim,” he said.

He said Thilini had made a complaint at the Children and Women’s Bureau on Monday, yet no action was taken over her complaint.

“There are many culprits and wrongdoers in the country who walk out Scott-free. I condemn the way police acted at this incident,” he said.

The incident must be properly investigated. This woman was provoked to hit the man as she was sexually harassed. Verbal harassment is also deplorable


 


Justice should be for both

UNP Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake expresses his views


“I was not an eye-witness to this incident and I can only comment on it by analyzing the video which has been circulating in the media. Since we cannot say for sure what had taken place, I believe that both the girl involved and the man who was alleged to have harassed her should be arrested and brought before the law.”

He added that it was up to the judge to listen to both parties and decide who was in the wrong and order the punishment accordingly.

“I think under the circumstances and the rumours that have been circulating about the incident, the best thing would be for the police, lawyers and judges to handle the incident and decide on the best course of action; I think justice should prevail for both parties involved,” MP Ramanayake said.  He added while he strongly felt that all women should be respected at all times, he felt that Selva’s actions did not warrant such harsh treatment.  “From what I could gather from the video, he had directed a verbal joke at her. One slap would have been fine but I don’t think she should have slapped him for over 30 minutes. If she felt so strongly about the incident, she should have gone to the police.”  However the MP admitted that he did not have faith in the police who could have done justice to her if that had been the case.  “Anyway, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to take the law into his or her own hands,” he pointed out.

All women should be respected at all times, but Selva’s actions did not warrant such harsh treatment


 

 



“Arresting the girl is unacceptable. We as women strongly deny it provided that the boy had made such a perverted gesture. I also have a daughter and in a situation where she is harassed by a boy, it is always correct to have a form of self defence by some means.”






“I wouldn’t say that anyone did the correct thing. The girl shouldn’t have made a big drama out of the incident. Everybody now has views against the girl whereas if such an incident normally occurred, everybody would be talking on behalf of her. It’s too late to add more events that took place at that time now because it would make the matter worse.”








 “It’s 80% unacceptable that she was arrested and 20% acceptable that it happened this way. She shouldn’t have gone to extremes and made a whole drama out of this incident.”




 




“The attire and what people watch on the Internet has changed the culture as a whole. During the 1960s women didn’t face any trouble like this. I would say that what this girl did is unacceptable. She should have slapped once and then lodged a complaint.”




 




“She shouldn’t have hit the boy. There are many other ways of dealing with such situations. If the boy made such a gesture, she should have at least shouted to let the others know. However, it is unfair that she was arrested.”  -



 




“What had really happened was that the boy had commented on her attire crudely. However, if it was intended to be a joke it was very extreme and I strongly disapprove about making such comments. Also if the boy did such a gesture she should have reported as soon as it happened and not now.”








“She should have stopped slapping after he apologized. However, the arrest is unacceptable.”









“The incident was exaggerated in a lot of ways. The girl should have left after slapping the boy once, without making a big issue out of it. There have to be some legal conditions involved otherwise the police will not arrest anybody for the sake of it” – happened and not now.”



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  Comments - 5

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  • Woman of Srilanka Friday, 29 August 2014 05:59 AM

    If it was only a comment made by the man it is obviously over - reaction. But now there is more and I can well believe this. Though it may look extreme in the video Thilini has empowered all of us by her action - given us courage to fight for our privacy to say enough is enough to those perverted Sri Lankan men who expose themselves, make lewd comments and lean up against women in buses. Go girl go and if anyone wants to start a women's movement count me in.

    Devaka Tuesday, 02 September 2014 12:34 AM

    Arresting her, the victim of sexual harassment, is totally unjustified. What she did was in self defence. Such men should be taught a lesson.

    ikp1408 Friday, 29 August 2014 06:59 AM

    All the accusations of showing private parts and masturbating come out only now. In the video the girl shouts that the man was saying nasty things only. The girl should be charged for making false complaints.

    Nil Friday, 29 August 2014 02:16 AM

    [quote name="David DeSilva"]The Girl who slapped the man Must and should be arrested. Period. The incident occurred in a public place and it is evident the man has made only a comment and he appolagized to her and the incident was caught on camera. Camera cannot lie. The woman's behavious is unacceptable in a civilized society. This woman behaved as a third class gangster in public. She should be held accountable for her actions, must be convicted of Verbal abuse, assault and jailed or should be peanalized for a good behaviour bond by courts.[/quote]

    And what is your verdict for the man involved? Does every crime require video evidence now?

    David DeSilva Thursday, 28 August 2014 10:17 AM

    The Girl who slapped the man Must and should be arrested. Period. The incident occurred in a public place and it is evident the man has made only a comment and he appolagized to her and the incident was caught on camera. Camera cannot lie. The woman's behavious is unacceptable in a civilized society. This woman behaved as a third class gangster in public. She should be held accountable for her actions, must be convicted of Verbal abuse, assault and jailed or should be peanalized for a good behaviour bond by courts.


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