Article by Lasya Perera, Social activist & Student Social Worker
To raise awareness on Violence against Women, Sri Lanka and the rest of the world joined in to commemorate the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women which is on the 25th of November 2015. Parallel to this, the Gender Based Violence Forum launched the 16 days campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV) on the 26th of November at the Hilton Residencies. At the launch a street drama was performed by member of ACT Sri Lanka. It was produced by Kapila Rasnayake the Executive Director of ACT Sri Lanka.
Through the drama ACT Sri Lanka attempted to talk about how domestic violence affects women, GBV in public transport and the types of violence that women undergo in their daily lives. That’s not all, the drama talks about the discrimination of women and girls as they are seen as taking the second position in society and thus treated differently, the deep rooted attitudes about women in society and the situation women are in because of these attitudes are brought down from generations. It also looked at how men could support women in situations of violence and what type of attitudes they should have towards women.
When it comes to society women have to face various problems as well as be subjected to negative attitudes for simply being a woman. It is thought that women should be confined to the home to carry out the housework and take care of the children while serving her husband as he needs to be treated differently or above her. Due to such attitudes women are not given the opportunity to move forward by society. Women have now become afraid to step up and society is further creating problems for her to do so. The drama also shows society’s as well as men’s attitudes towards women who do break the barriers and come forward.
A street drama such as this shows that in order to eliminate Gender Based Violence the support of both women and men are needed while also showing how the community could be more gender sensitive so that more women would come forward in society.
ACT Sri Lanka and its creator Kapila Rasnayake will perform this drama in Colombo and in different parts of the island during the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign.
Photographs by Sanchia Brown, Women and Media Collective