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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-18-98

Sri Lanka: Violence Against Women Increases

According to reports from police and feminist writers, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of violent acts committed against women in Sri Lanka.

Police reported that 900 women were raped last year, 100 occurring during the months of July August and September. During the first six months of this year, police investigated 52 charges of domestic assault and 38 sexual harassment or molestation cases.

Sunila Abysekera of Women and Media Collective commented, "We are now talking about a rape a day (during the summer months). This is far higher than what it has ever been.

Experts disagree on whether the increase is real or whether it simply reflects and increase in the number of reported crimes. Several women's groups also argue that fighting in the country is at least partially responsible for the increase. "This is always the case in times of war. When conflicts are being resolved militarily you find violence trickling into society," said Radhika Kumaraswamy, special rapporteur on violence against women.

Others blame the increase on men's unwillingness to accept women's new roles as breadwinners, police unresponsiveness, and the recently strengthened, but still weak, laws punishing violent acts against women.

Media Resources: Reuters


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