Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa says violence against women is their own fault
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa caused controversy on Saturday, when he said that violence against women is their own fault, and cannot be blamed on men. To make it all the more remarkable, he made these comments at an event to promote World Women’s Day.
“My opinion is that nobody can make men responsible for the violence against women. Women are responsible for it, “ he said. He added that eliminating violence against women was not the responsibility of men but women, and said that the representation of women in the media and on the internet was to blame for the way women are perceived.
“Media, internet, tele-dramas, cinema all these view women as a sexual object. This should be controlled. The way men view women should be changed. Only women can bring that change,” Rajapaksa said.
What makes Rajapaksa’s remarks all the more horrifying is the worrying state of violence against women and children in Sri Lanka. In July last year, Women for Rights said that a woman is raped every 90 minutes in Sri Lanka, that the country is the 5th worst in the world for domestic violence, and that 95% of women using public transport experience sexual harassment. 3-5 children are also raped every day, whilst Rosy Senanayake said in parliament that there are 40,000 child prostitutes in Sri Lanka.
In September, a UN led survey revealed that 97% of rapists in Sri Lanka faced no legal consequences. 65% of men who admitted committing rape said they had done it more than once.
And this is not the first time that a prominent politician has made embarrassingly sexist remarks on women’s issues.
Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karaliyadda told parliament in December that conventions aimed at providing full equality for women “go against our culture and religion”. The Women and Media Collective earlier called for his resignation after a series of sexist statements, including saying that women are not suitable for public office because they are unable to get on with each other, that gender equality is a “meaningless concept” peddled only by do-gooding NGOs, and implied that women fighting for equality have “rejected values of ‘pathivatha’ (fidelity to husband) in their family life”.
Meanwhile, prominent female politician Rosy Senanayake has been on the receiving end of a host of sexist remarks in parliament, most notably from Transport Minister Kumara Welgama who said that he was going to start wearing trousers instead of a sarong in order to attract her attention, having already said that he was struck dumb by her beauty. The incidents made a list of the top 10 sexist moments in politics.
All of this is without even mentioning Mervyn Silva’s clownish proposal to UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay last year, or the brouhaha caused by Namal Rajapaksa tweeting a sexist meme about Anarkali Akarsha.
One blogger reacted to Chamal Rajapaksa’s remarks like this: “Our Speaker is not someone who would walk on the roads like you and me, or travel in buses. He doesn’t have daughters but even if he did, they wouldn’t be taking public transport like you and me, being whistled at, groped, touched, leaned on, stared at every fucking day, whenever you get on to the road/get into a bus. So, yeah. I don’t really blame him for thinking that women are responsible for the violence they go through. I don’t think he had ever tried to talk back to a man who just whistled and shouted that you have sexy legs or a tight ass, ultimately being called a bitch or a slut by the same ‘people’ who whistled.
But hold on… those are just ‘stuff’ that happen every day and you never know whether women actually enjoy being groped by random commuters in buses, right? Well, go bang your head on a wall and that might help you to think straight.”
It is truly amazing how Sri Lankan (male) politicians keep proving how deeply ingrained sexism is in the political system, and how remarkably ignorant they are of the causes of it, or the effect it has on millions of women’s lives across the country. Still, when Karaliyadda can still be in office after making so many remarks which run directly counter to his own ministerial portfolio, we should not expect any action to be taken against Rajapaksa, or any other politician, for that matter.
Violence against women is one of the biggest problems facing Sri Lanka today, and for a senior government figure to make such remarks is shocking. Unfortunately, in the current climate it is also not surprising.
What a stupid fucking thing to say specially being the presidents brother! He deserves to get raped by a prisoner!
WOW DID HE ACTUALLY SAY THAT ?????
According to him, it means a woman wearing a short skirt provokes a man to rape her !!! Similarly MR. RAJAPAKSA your face provokes me to beat you up, should I go ahead and do it then ????
It's a fucking rapist mentality which needs to be sorted out, government should take actions against RAPE rather then encourage them with this sort of nonsense you speak up on public forum.
If men have their freedom to do whatever they can, so does WOMEN.
Chamal Rajapaksa is a moron. Although calling him a moron is an insult to morons. I hope he gets hit by a bus.