The facts : A 21 year old girl, verbally harassed with sexual comments by a man at the bus station. She slaps him multiple times, and is now arrested. Yes, SHE is now arrested. The first link is a video of the confrontation, and the second is a news paper article confirming the girls arrest.
A number of people have made statements such as “She got arrested? Damn good for her!’, or “She deserved it!” But it was not until someone I thought to be educated and intellectually rounded, made a similar comment, that I felt strongly enough to voice my own opinion. Many people have already said what they’ve had to say, and before i delve further into this controversy i just want to make it clear that i am entitled to my own opinion, and no my opinion is not biased because i am a girl.
Firstly, violence is never the answer. This is the slogan the men are now preaching and of course, i fully agree. A woman raised her hand to a man who verbally harassed her – violence is never the answer. What she should have done was inform the police. The police would have then proceeded to get the details of the event, and then one of two things could have happened. Number one, the woman would have been asked a series of related questions, for example,what did you do to provoke him? What were you wearing, and the best one yet, Why couldn’t you just ignore it? (that is the most justified and valid question after all), number two, the police could have referred to the Penal Code Act of the Sri Lankan constitution where it states, and i quote, ‘ Sexual harassment is criminally punishable under Section 345 of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 1995.Sexual harassment constitutes “Harassment of a sexual nature using assault, criminal force, or WORDS or actions which causes ANNOYANCE to the person being harassed.” And subsequently arrested the man. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which of the two scenarios were more likely to have happened 🙂
So yes of course, she shouldn’t have raised her hand, in an ideal world though, she may not even have had the need to raise it 🙂
The garment factory rape in Colombo is probably a story you havent heard or seen on the media,probably because in this case, a girl was raped by two men and all the gender roles were kept well in tact. Preethi (not her actual name) was verbally harassed by her supervisors on a daily basis. Preethi did not raise her hand. Instead she lodged a complaint to the police. And a week after she made the complaint, the two men who had previously harassed her got arrested.
Sounds too good, or too just to be true? Two weeks after Preethi approached the police, her supervisors raped her.
I’ll leave you with this; women, just like men, are human. Violence is not the answer, but sometimes there is no correct answer left to guide us. Just understand that everyday is a fight for women. We can be anywhere in the world and we will still live in fear. The point isnt that the Wariyapola girl raised her hand, the point is that she did what I would have been too afraid to do. Don’t make naive and uneducated comments or statements because everyday is a fight for women and we’re at battle on our own.