Sarvodaya Women’s Forum: Raising a voice for violence against women!

Under the theme “Social Economic and Political Role and Responsibilities in Peace Building against GBV” the GBV Forum and Sarvodaya Women’s Forum held an interactive discussion on the 27th of November 2014 at Nagarodaya in Borella.

With the support of the United Nations Population Fund, Sarvodaya’s President Wimala Ranathunga organised the meeting with a diverse selection of professionals to present their thoughts on the subject.

At the event Dr. Neela Gunasekara former President of National Women’s Committee spoke about gender identities, Dr. Lakshman Senanayaka presented his views on Domestic Violence and Health, President of the National Women’s Committee Swarna Sumanasekara talked about ‘Setting up peace against Gender Based Violence and Social, Economic and Political Duties and Responsibilities, Chief Police Inspector Buddhika Balachandran expressed his views on Modern Technology and Children and Vice President of Sarvodaya Nilani Manthrinayaka talked about the ‘Human mind beyond the law’ among others.

The following points were the main focus of the meeting:

  • 90% of victims of Gender Based Violence are women, therefore special attention should be made towards Violence against Women and harassment.2014_11_27_5578
  • According to the World Health Organisation one out of three women are subjected to domestic violence.
  • Such acts of violence will impact the victim mentally twice over
  • Violence against women perpetrated by husbands are at 38% while violence against men by women are at 8%
  • Violence has become common in relationships and family members as a large number of children are subjected to violence by their parents and this has become a common factor in Sri Lankan society.
  • It should be clear that violence in any form cannot be accepted under any circumstances.
  • Although act no 22 of 1995 penal code has been changed by increasing the punishment for perpetrators, there is no decrease in violations of the law.
  • Laws and regulations are not sufficient to end Gender Based Violence, people’s minds on the subject has to be changed as well.
  • Children and young adults are subject to more violence with the presence of Social Media.
  • To build society it is important that cultural programmes are introduced in the media.

Following the presentations a panel on Gender Based Violence highlighted the following:

Ministry of Education, Director of Research – Amara Peiris

Develop school syllabuses based on the research conducted at mental hospitals and in prisons. Sexuality education should also be included from grade one and this can be implemented with the help of civil society.

Foundation for Innovation and Social Development (FISD) – Samitha Sugathamala

According to her more attention should be paid to building of social relationships within society. It is important that there is a dialog with women and men based on gender, culture and social beliefs to help build society accordingly. The current dialog that has been built by society is a way of dividing men from women therefore a more positive dialog should be developed.

Journalist – Achini Weerasinghe

There should be a focus as to how women of violence are talked about in the media. She explained that the media reports on incidents of violence without considering the acts of violence or the victim. It was pointed out that as civil society it is important to intervene in such situations.

The role of the media was an extensive discussion at the Sarvodaya meeting. In the end it was suggested that programmes such as this should be conducted at both regional and national level.


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