These include gang rape and sale of young girls for sexual abuse.Some of the incidents that have been highlighted in the media are: There have also been regular reports in the media of sexual abuse of school children by teachers, principals as well as some religious leaders and, by family members and relatives.
The median age at first marriage has declined from around 25 years to 23.3 years while the Total Fertility Rate has increased from 2.1 to 2.13.
Sri Lanka’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) stands at 32.5 for every 100,000 live births as recorded by the Family Health Bureau (FHB).
We urge that the government acts without delay to make meaning of these obligations and commitments in relation to the rights of women and children.
We urge state institutions such as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Child Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Child Protection Authority and the Department of Police to act immediately to stop this wave of violence against women and children.
Should we not acknowledge that there are many men who fulfill their familial obligations and are not abusers of their children and women?
It is a matter of shame that a society and culture which upholds the concept ‘mother is the Buddha in the home’ is in fact a society in which perpetrators of heinous crimes against women and children can live with little fear of the law.
The Asia-Pacific Resource and Research centre for Women (ARROW) highlights the purpose of understanding the difference between the median age at marriage and the legal minimum age at marriage to identify the extent to which the legal age is adhered to.
According to the Sri Lankan Demographic and Health Survey (SLDHS 2009), the legal age of marriage is 18 for both males and females while the age of discretion is 16 years for females.
We ask, does this imply then that perpetrators of these horrendous crimes are absolved of any ‘blame’?
Or, does this mean that parents should refrain from going out of the house to be to earn an income for the family?
The country profile further states that Sri Lanka has signed and ratified many international conventions that attempt to address the empowerment of women, combat gender-based violence, improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls and ensure gender equality.