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Gender based violence is a bitter reality in the world including Sri Lanka:- Minister Sudarshini laments

Sudarshini Fernandopulle

State Minister of COVID-19 Control, Primary Healthcare and Epidemics Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle has lamented that Gender based violence (GBV) has almost become a clichéd term in gender terminology.

She has made the observation in a statement issued to mark the 16 days of Activism against Gender based violence from November 25. The UN Secretary General’s Unite Campaign has declared the global theme o this year as “Orange the World: End Violence against women Now”. Her statement reads:

“We have spoken about it over and over again, it has really lost its essence. But, it is not merely a term. It is an utterly bitter reality in the world and in Sri Lanka. Statistics can only tell a half-truth, but it is worth looking at a few statistics.

The Women and Wellbeing Survey 2019 which is the first dedicated national survey on Violence against Women (VAW) in Sri Lanka reports that one in four Sri Lankan women has experienced some kind of physical or sexual violence. Close to 40% of women has undergone physical, sexual, emotional and/or economic violence and/or controlling behaviours by a partner. The survey underscores that the conditions of violence against women in the estate sector are really grim. The report also confirms that physical and sexual violence was mostly overlapping and repeated more than one time.

65% of the women who were forced to have sexual intercourse, for instance, reported that they went through this violence two to three times and 32% reported that they were forced to have sex over five times. Intimate partners were reported to be inducing physical violence than non-partners.
Long-term physical and mental health impacts were prominently reported in the women who suffered VAW. Close to 30% of the victims reported to have suffered from persistent injury due to sexual and physical violence and close to 20% reported that the injuries required medical care. Close to half of the victims who suffered sexual violence by a partner rated the impact of the violence they face was “a lot” while another 30% rated it to be “a little”.

COVID-19 only aggravated the levels of sexual and physical violence against women in Sri Lankan and across the world, as was repeatedly reported in news.”

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