We, a nation of islanders, with a long cultural history which we never tire of flaunting at every given opportunity, have been neglecting our young over a long period of time followed closely by women who need to be protected and cared for in the same vein by the nation. We speak of women in glowing terms, in reverence of women as MOTHER and in the same breath curse upon her name especially under the influence of liquor. It is not only men who are guilty of this guttural rancour but women too. To counteract the rape culture of innocent children and women in Sri Lanka should be the mission of every Sri Lankan.
Who are children?
In short, they are our country’s most vulnerable citizens ranging from birth to 18. To the perpetrator making explanations on why he wanted to rape a child excuses range from sexual enticement, or luring them into
"To counteract the rape culture of innocent children and women in Sri Lanka should be the mission of every Sri Lankan. To meet this horrendous reality, often not perceived, Sri Lanka is crying for discipline and the rule of law to be upheld, irrespective of the social background of her people by those in authority."
Let me reiterate the age range. 0-18 are children. How does an infant lure an old man into sexual activity? Does it make any sense? As a nation, we should understand this fundamental truth. Let us remember that rape of infants to teenagers is happening as we speak. It is happening because adults in our midst are using children as pawns to line their pockets. It is the adult in our midst who
Battered, bruised, abused and disregarded; physically and mentally scarred, the events would haunt the entire lives of young victims. Is this the segment of Sri Lanka’s precious lives we would like to erase from our memories? If not for social media, most of us would be doubting these events ever took place. If any of these abused children rise to become adults in leadership or lead this country out of the mire, we would know the bitter truth.
"If a child is harassed, bullied, verbally abused or ridiculed, physically abused or used as a punching bag by peers ...when a child’s skin colour is something to be mocked at...when boys are ridiculed for crying...surely it is a human emotion we are blessed with to express ourselves...why does it have to be ridiculed by those who call themselves teachers? parents? caregivers? even grandparents..? "
It would be quite beguiling to listen to those in power assess the present scenario of destruction even before life has fully begun for these innocent children. From neglect, indifference, trafficking, trading, paedophilia under the so-called watchful eye of authorities Sri Lanka’s population of the most vulnerable is a huge risk from the wolves as we speak. Millions of rupees have been spent on development and re-reinventing the wheel. Officials are sent on foreign training programs to counter the growing dread. Then there is silence. Horrific silence as incidents rise and the standard excuse of ‘dearth of staff’ is heard. The cog in this wheel should never experience such setbacks. In many cases, a minute’s delay can cause immense damage. Women and children are to be protected, nurtured and respected.
WHY SHOULD CHILDREN SUFFER THE SINS OF A NATION?
The experts blame parents. If parents are in the picture, they should shoulder the majority of the responsibility for sure. However, what about teachers and school administrations? If a child is harassed, bullied, verbally abused or ridiculed, physically abused or used as a punching bag by peers ...when a child’s skin colour is something to be mocked at...when boys are ridiculed for crying...surely it is a human emotion we are blessed with to express ourselves...why does it have to be ridiculed by those who call themselves teachers? parents? caregivers? even grandparents..?
Such is our cultural beliefs of many thousands of years. In 2020, we are yet unprepared for global change. A change of mindset to involve and incorporate new thinking that every life matters.
THE SENSITIVE PERIODS OF CHILDREN
Contrary to popular belief that children forget early experiences, they don’t. They carry the memories in the recesses of deep thought. With time and other experiences with society, it will surface as a monster, maniac, murderer or burden upon society. The negligible flip side of the abused will surface as a caring and caregiving, extremely kind person who can benefit society with his/her benevolence.
HITTING THE ‘HELP’ BUTTON!
Sri Lankans on average does not seek help. It has to be a ‘do or die situation for them to do so. At the first suspicion that a child has been exposed to an adult world, you need to be on high alert.
1) Talk 2) Discuss 3) Share
Those are the three key areas for children between 2-6.
From 6-10 years of age
1) Draw / Paint
Between the ages 13-18, children are often mismanaged by peers and deceiving adults.
Non-discrimination is the key to achieve their full potential. Bullying and ragging is now the powerful weapon of destruction.
Often older children(10-14) sculpt a phallus and bash it with a stone or heavy object they can find. (Boys and girls) Some children speak of the incident/s after a good many years. Some parents refuse therapy. Some children refuse to believe it ever happened to them.
Supportive parents create an environment to raise children to face future challenges while acquiring the confidence to open up to their concerns and fears. Yet, what recourse do children have when they end up in orphanages? We need to observe the attributes of each and every child in a non-discriminative manner. A child’s cry for help falls on deaf ears due to the cultural beliefs of its parents which lead the child to find solace in addictions. ie: premature depression and mental health issues, alcohol and drug abuse with constant complaints of boredom. In reality, the absence of love and compassion culminates in HATE, self-mutilation and suicide.
To counteract the rape culture of innocent children and women in Sri Lanka should be the mission of every Sri Lankan. To meet this horrendous reality, often not perceived, Sri Lanka is crying for discipline and the rule of law to be upheld, irrespective of the social background of her people by those in authority. We appeal to genuine like-minded citizens to stand up for the voiceless children of our Nation.
Do not be silent in the face of abuse. Speak for those who need your voice.
Join in and help us to build a strong network of like-minded organizations and individuals in all 25 Districts committed to stand against the abuse of Women and Children, by
The writer is a resource person at Seekers Research. firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details please contact: Avanka Lanka