All aspects that help man to live as man can be called Human Rights. On the basis of Human Rights a man is entitled to live in freedom and security. The struggles for the Human Rights have been ignored from the beginning of the time. Human Rights are structured on the basis of using slavery by the capitalists and this has been carried out at each time in the history, freedom, brotherhood and equality were the trumpets of the French revolution, The Chicago workers Declaration of eight-hours work and eight hours sleep, and the call for the workers to unite by the Russian Revolution under Lenin; All these were struggles for rights.
After the two-world wars the whole world looked like a funeral house, and in order to prevent another war that would be the 3rd world war, the United Nations was established. Under certain chapters of this Organization, many nations signed for this. But it was necessary to establish a Universal declaration on Rights and as a result. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights was declared in 1948. It is mentioned in this Declaration that, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. However, according to their political managements, countries have adopted these Human Rights as fundamental Rights in their constitutions.
However, the women’s rights are the one of the most important of the human rights and are these rights guaranteed in every constitution? Are there equality between women and men? Are there checks and balances to curb the violence against women? These are the questions that these articles tried to find answers for.
In order to prevent violence against women, the attention of the world nations was turned towards it. Hence, the United Nations created a charter in 1979 and was declared as a Universal Declaration to all violence and injustice against women. It is called the CEDAW.
According to this declaration, injustices against women are against human dignity and are against welfare of the family and the society. Women should be treated equally to men. The CEDAW says that the violations against women are a barrier in developing humanity completely. Sri Lanka too, has recognized this.
The violations against women take place in several ways. Domestic violence and public violence are the most common of them.
When we take the domestic violence it takes place in many families. This does not come out to the outer world. This has been practiced since the ancient times. Certain cultures are used as stakes by men in subduing women. Further there are sexual abuse, assault and abuse by words, mutilating organs, marital rape, and forcing to sexual contact under the influence at liquor, and these abuses are numerous in families the world over. In Sri Lanka, women do not expose to the violence against them and this is a big problem. They fear that if it is exposed they will lose their respect and that of their, family. This factor is an encouraging one to the male dominant society. And it is an undeniable fact that this condition has led down the women society and male lose their dignity.
A husband who assaults the wife under the influence of liquor and giving liquor to children are major causes of violence. A woman runs the family with her physical labor and intelligence using them together. If a woman has no fertility, the husbands relatives annoy her and such incidents are numerous, that is why some extreme women campaigners want women to be alone and create such an environment in the traditional structure of the paternal society the differences in biological factors, if is the women who has to be subdued. Ultra feminists claim that the paternal social structure should be
Broken in order to redeem the women’s rights. Another factor of the domestic violence against women is the mutilation or female circumcision is
Before marriage. This is practiced as a surgery. Analysis shows that in countries of the Middle East and Africa, these surgeries are done to prevent women having sexual feelings after the marriage.
Further, there are ill treatments by Mother-in – Laws for the reason of dowry and this type of violence are on the increase. Burning Women in the Kitchen are most common in Countries like India.
Another serious violence against women is the forced abortion. We can see this violation often taking place in countries like India and Pakistan. We see this incident is through televisions and other Medias. We also witness another important violence. That is the verification of virginity of women. This is a very serious violation of women’s rights. There are also marital rapes. Which take place after marriage? Foreign women to have sex without their consent are this from of violence. It is a saddening thing that in the make society it is not regarded as violence at all.
According to the Society for Removal of Discrimination against Women,
“Arrangements including enacting legislations and other actions should be taken to curb violence such as abduction of women, disgracing and using women for sex trade”.
However in Sri Lanka, now violence against women is rising on a daily basis. Women are abducted, they are sexually abused and they are treated in ill manner in public places.
Penal code of Sri Lanka defines that having a sexual contact with a woman without her consent is a sexual abuse.
(Penal code section 363). Though this is construed as violence, it is a confusing feature in Sri Lanka that violence against women is on the increase. Further it is saddening to see that the women undergo these abuses are from the poverty stricken masses. They do not have any access to take legal actions. According to many victims opinion,
Women who undergo this violence do not go to the police to make complaints because they are reluctant to respond to questions asked by the inquiring officers. There are cases of custodial rapes against women all over the world. These are committed by the very police or the Army personnel who are supposed to guard the inmates in their custody. This situation shows women are vulnerable even in protected places. These breaches of law are well covered and kept as secrets within.
Therefore, violence against women is at all levels, family-wise, economic wise and political wise. The prolonged war situation and Tsunami disaster also has paved the way for an increase of violence against women.
When we look at all the above forms of violence against women, it is ones expectation that the government takes stern measures to safeguard rights of women. Though Sri Lanka has ratified the CEDAW convention, discrimination against women, slavery and inequality of gender balance are visible shortcomings in our system. Stern laws to prevent such abuses should be introduced in the current legal system. It such systematic arrangements are enabled there is a possibility of reduction in the ongoing rate violence against women in our precious country.
(MA in Sociology – Re ,BA in Political science, Higher Dip’ In Human Rights-University of Peradeniya, Dip in Social Science, Open University & Dip in Psychology- Ministry of health)