| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(November 29, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Recent statistics show that 75 percent of women between 15 and 45 years of age are sexually harassed in public transport. This is a diabolical misrepresentation of statistics. All women in Sri Lanka are harassed sexually in public transport. |It was the former Transport Minister A.H.M.Fowzie who suggested separate buses for men and women in the nineties. What a sorry set of males Sri Lanka has.
The best thing that women enjoy in the West is the freedom from sexual harassment in public transport. For those of us who migrated to the West the feeling and assurance you will not be harassed no matter how revealing your clothes are or how attractive you are in that men would not gawp at you, rub their front against you on a crowded bus, leer at you or make sexual innuendos for all to hear is so liberating.
The occupied North and East under the LTTE was also a period when those men who harass women were punished with severe penalties.
I spent a good part of my salary travelling in a trishaw rather than suffer the humiliating attentions of depraved Lankan males in buses and trains. What is it with these men that they cannot sit with their knees together but have the utmost need to spread them wide apart. Do their appendages hang better than a donkey’s do-dah that they need to occupy more than their share of the seats available?
There was the time when I admonished a lecherous layabout of a passenger that he need not have clutched me from behind all because the driver made a sudden brake and he shouted for all to hear that I was not exactly a spring chicken and that I was not Aishwarya Rai.
Methinks the males need to be allowed to mix more freely with females and shed all their inhibitions. Also, it does not help when the government pixels the kissing scenes on TV. Believe me, the scenes are not so titillating that men would immediately grab the nearest available female and engage in a passionate kiss.
Vasudeva Nanayakkara had a practical solution to the depraved males. He suggested in parliament that enough secluded places should be made available to lovers in parks. One could add that the police should not be permitted to patrol or snoop on their goings on. Should the police need to vent their pent-up sexual feelings they could raid the brothels where VIPs such as government ministers and learned judges have a list longer than a roo’s tail and leave the teenage lovers to pass through their normal passage of rite.
Sri Lanka is in constant denial and it feels that Emergency Regulations should be passed to monitor sexual misconduct. Sex has been the beginning and the end of the human tribe and without sex human kind cannot proliferate. Let the Department of Education inculcate in the young that sex is not a sin but an awareness of growing up. Also, it needs to alert the young of being aware of aged uncles and relatives who could abuse them as they do in the West.
Sri Lanka cannot enter the 21st century without shedding its hypocracy that Sri Lankans are a pious lot. Far from it. You only need to look into the abuses of the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim clergy reported regularly in the media that we are falling behind in protecting our children and youngsters.
Celibacy has not worked among Catholics. Could we show some honesty and allow sexual liberation for all? Once you give a free for all, sex would not seem all that mystery as it appears now in our country.