What we discussed on issues related to SRHR and bodily autonomy of women at the Think Tank

In September 2015 Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka initiated the National Youth champions Think Tank on unsafe abortion and network building meeting. The Youth Champions of Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and young peer educators of YPEER Sri Lanka decided to come together and form Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka with the focus on young peoples SRHR, bodily autonomy and gender equality.

The think tank had medical professionals, researchers, economists, young journalists, ministry and government representatives, Civil society organisations, National youth bodies, a medical student, a young person living with disability, lawyers and law students present at the meeting. It was such a pleasure for us at YANSL to get participants for the meeting from organisations and bodies such as the Ministry of Health, Family Health Bureau, National Committee on women, Family planning association of Sri Lanka, Women and media collective, Women in Need, The Grassrooted trust, Action Against apathy, Media, National youth services council federation of youth clubs and more.

The think tank was focused on issues related to unsafe abortion – what we as young people can do and what we need the authorities to support us with. The discussions brought up the lack of accurate information for young people on their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the issues related to a lack of support for health care providers as a result of stigma and legal restrictions. This diverse group of stakeholders and other supporters will hopefully increase the legitimacy of national voices and result in an increase in visibility and a change in the existing law.

Here are some of the key points that were discussed and debated in the meeting.

  • We need to target vulnerable youth and Sri Lanka is identified as a priority country on abortions by FIGO.
  • This is a good time to take the abortion advocacy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights efforts forward.
  • Issues related to unsafe abortion can be tackled providing accurate information and services to a certain extent.
  • Immediate need for Comprehensive sexuality and relationship education in schools was echoed by many.
  • Workshops with women’s ministry, Media workshops for SRHR and HIV havas been happening and there are several new short films and videos on issues related to teenage pregnancy.
  • The policy paper on unsafe abortion needs to be pushed
  • Gender based violence and challenges addressing violence need to be brought attention through media
  • There has been a research conducted with doctors on abortion law ( targeting 220 doctors) on their perceptions and attitudes
  • We need to find innovative mechanisms to deliver SRHR knowledge
  • Lack of availability of information, less access to research and data make these issues more complicated and hard to write or talk about
  • The young journalists were particularly keen to contact several officials and ministries for interviews, access data, have press conferences.
  • It was also highlighted that journalists and media being more sensitized, ethical and responsible when writing articles related to SRHR and gender equality related issues.
  • It was commonly suggested to identify less progressive arguments and discriminatory myths and misconceptions related to SRHR and unsafe abortion related issues and address them with data on social media.
  • Challenges faced by young advocates and activists in the grassroot level when working on SRHR of young people was discussed in detail where several officials offered their support to deal with some issues specially related to access and information.
  • Importance of having a glossary and reviewing the education curriculum of young people living with disabilities to add more rights based gender responsive sexuality education into their education.
  • Importance of having rights based gender responsive education in medical and nursing schools was highlighted.
  • It was also discussed how we can localize Sustainable Development Goals specially related to reproductive health and gender equality after the goals are adopted.

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BEIJING+20 YOUTH STATEMENT ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY SRI LANKA 2015

BEIJING+20 YOUTH STATEMENT ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY SRI LANKA 2015

We, as the young people of Sri Lanka, recognize the important achievements in the field of  education and employment opportunities for women since the Beijing Platform for Action  1995. In terms of gender equality, we have also ratified the Convention to Eliminate all forms of  Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as of October 1981. Sri Lanka also adopted a  comprehensive Women’s Charter in 1993 framed on the principles of equality and nondiscrimination enshrined in CEDAW. Despite all these achievements however, there is a  significant prevalence of discrimination against girls and women. Young women lack the  opportunity to make decisions concerning their own bodies –especially in relation to abortion,  marital law is not discussed, and there is a lack of young, capable women in decision making  positions of power and authority. Young women and girls are victims of discrimination based  purely on their gender. Female unemployment rate is twice that of the male unemployment rate. Approximately 6.3% teen pregnancies are reported every year in Sri Lanka.1 More than 700 unsafe abortions happen every day in Sri Lanka.2 Sri Lanka has the highest rate of sexual  harassment in South Asia where recent research found that 70%of women aged 15-45 had experienced sexual harassment on public transport.

Additionally, in spite of legal measures in place to protect women’s rights, the existence of  social, cultural and religious barriers are prevalent throughout the country, preventing women  and girls from achieving their full potential and making them victims of circumstance depending  on their socio-cultural background. It may seem paradoxical; we have a National Youth Policy in  place, yet we also have laws criminalizing homosexuality, and a lack of Comprehensive Sexuality  Education (CSE) and safe abortion services, except when the mother’s life is in danger. This, and  society’s constricted outlook on the definition of what young women should be like, leads to  very realistic fears concerning the deteriorating status of women in modern-day Sri Lanka.  There is a lack of equality for women in social and political contexts, including where their  health rights are concerned. We believe that implementation of the existing adolescent health  strategy and national youth policy, and approving the Health of Young Persons’ Policy would
resolve most of the existing issues.

Following our advocacy training and youth review of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), 26  participants from government and civil society organisations decided to focus on four key areas  of the BPFA to be given precedence in the Post 2015 development agenda that Sri Lanka will  undertake. Our major areas of concern are Women and Health, Violence against Women,  Women in Power and Decision Making, and The Girl Child.
1. Women and Health
Introduce and provide Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) at school level to all students
regardless of gender, religion and or other factors. Implement the Lessons Learnt and
Recommendation Commission’s (LLRC) recommendations regarding women’s health and rights.
Decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormalities and provide safe,
affordable, accessible abortion, including effective post-abortion care. Ensure and strengthen
the provision of equal, accessible, affordable, comprehensive, confidential, non-judgmental,
and non-discriminatory youth friendly healthcare and information services irrespective of
gender or sexual identity, which includes sexual and reproductive health services (including HIV
and STI services). Provide non-discriminatory service to women who are at an increased risk or
who are vulnerable to HIV and STIs by training health service providers to acquire necessary
skills and attitudes when communicating and/ or providing treatment to vulnerable and high
risk women.
2. Violence against Women
Recognize marital rape as a crime, and emphasize the legal protection which would be given to
women in such instances. Strengthen and ensure the efficiency of the women’s help desk in law
enforcing institutions. Ensure that police officers and state officials receive comprehensive
gender sensitivity training. Implement existing mechanisms to protect vulnerable women from
violence which results from post-conflict situations and religious fundamentalism. Eliminate
sexual harassment in the work place and take immediate disciplinary or legal action against
sexual harassers. Recognize cyber violence and Intimate partner violence as forms of Violence
against Women (VAW). Eliminate Discriminatory practices and legal provisions against women
in land and property ownership.

3. Women in Power and Decision Making

Establish an independent women’s commission that would address and ensure women’s rights
with a fair representation of youth. Ensure participation of women in local government as well
as in provincial and national government, by allocating specific quotas for women, including
reserved seats. Provide cabinet ministry portfolios and allocate a specific quota for female
representation in Parliament, including a 25% inclusion in the National List; urge state run
youth bodies such as the Youth Parliament, to have a supportive environment within their
organization to promote participation of women, while also and empowering them by enabling
them to access positions of leadership. Encourage political parties to pledge for a fair
representation of women within their party, including in the executive positions with an
equitable provision for youth representation. Existing national policies and programmes should
be implemented in a manner which is gender responsive and gender friendly. Establish a
women’s desk at District Secretary level. Provide leadership training to assist marginalized and
women living with disabilities, and to ensure that their participation in decision making
platforms will be effective and meaningful.

4. The Girl Child
Eliminate stigma and discrimination faced by young women and girls in all spheres. Create
supportive mechanisms to provide access to education and health services to marginalized girls,
the group of which include but are not limited to people with different physical and mental
abilities, sexual orientation and gender identities, and indigenous young women. Provide and
strengthen uniform community based networking, child-monitoring and a safe support system
for the protection of victims of violence. Ensure that the school and pre-school teacher and
parent training curricula are gender responsive and includes CSE, while additionally instructing
institutions to ensure its programmes and policies are also gender responsive.

1 The Family Health Bureau. (2013). 2 UNFPA Sri Lanka. ICPD@15 Sri Lanka Review. (2009). 3 Sri Lanka Legal Aid Commission. (2011).

The Beijing POA imagines a world where women and girls can exercise their freedom and choices, realize all their rights & participate in decision making meaningfully. IS THIS A REALITY?

Beijing+20 youth review and advocacy training was an eye opener for me in terms of understanding the Beijing Deceleration and Platform for Action and the 12 critical areas of concern. It made not only me but the rest of the participants also who are activists in different related areas understand the content of the document and the remaining recommendations that need to be implemented in Sri Lanka to empower women. The BPFA imagines a world where women and girls can exercise their freedom and choices, realize all their rights and participate in decision making meaningfully. We all know that Beijing process unleashed a great deal of political will, support and visibility that the governments, civil societies and the public and then the governments have translated the platform actions and recommendations where they promised to act accordingly addressing the issues in concern in their individual countries and to bring a solid change.

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Looking at the Sri Lankan context I accept that there had been a great improvement in women’s life when looking at certain areas but still it is questionable and debatable with the rise of certain issues and reported incidents whether Sri Lanka is addressing the issues related to women’s life in the correct manner? Is women’s empowerment a reality? Can the recommendations and actions that have been implemented in the sphere of empowering women make them take meaningful decisions? Can they make their own choices without influence? Do they know what a rights based approach is?is?  10994063_10204767335481638_7578097526018582950_n

Looking at women’s and young girls sexual and reproductive health rights it is largely seen and observed that adolescents girls in Sri Lanka don’t have access to necessary healthcare information and services. Trend towards early sexual experiences are combined with the lack of information and services and this increases the risk of unwanted and early pregnancies, HIV and other STIs and also lead to unsafe abortions. These issues that rise because of lack of access for quality SRHR information and services will push them backwards in achieving a range of educational, economical and social statutes and also this won’t give them the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical or mental wellbeing. Another area of concern under health is the attempts that needed to be taken to eliminate unsafe abortions and to deal with the health impacts of unsafe abortions. Under restricted abortion laws still there are more than 750 reported cases of unsafe abortions that take place in Sri Lanka every day. I personally think that this much of cases are reported because there is a loop hole somewhere that needs to be urgently addressed. The lack of knowledge on contraceptives ends up making women vulnerable and then they finally have to get an unsafe, illegal abortion done.

Concerning only this aspect it suggests that Sri Lanka still has a long way to go! More recommendations need to be added and implemented in the grass root level! Certain policies and laws need to be changed! Real actions and policies needed to be implemented to address women’s health! To empower them! To make them realise their rights! To make them take decisions and make choices related to their own bodies!

Lakmini Prabani Perera- Sri Lanka

Abortion myth-busting and sex education are key to ensuring women’s rights as human rights

Sarah Soysa- The founder of Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka writed her experience on SRHR activism and setting up a network

youthagainstabortionstigma

By Sarah Soysa, volunteer at the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka

Abortion myth-busting is urgently needed, as I discovered from several consultations and social media dialogues we had recently in Sri Lanka. Even today many people say that women can use contraception to avoid pregnancy, without knowing the realities of stigma around access to contraception and the lack of youth friendly health centres in the country. There is still a lack of understanding of the importance of providing comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in schools. And still, the argument of “why can’t she place the child for adoption” is used too often, failing to realize that a woman shouldn’t go through a pregnancy if it will affect her physical, mental, emotional or social well-being. Estimates suggest that up to 125,000-175,000 clandestine (or ‘illegal’) abortions take place every year.[1] Nearly 12% of maternal deaths in Sri Lanka are due to…

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Will LAWS, UNHYGIENIC CONDITIONS and MYTHS stop women from accessing UNSAFE ABORTIONS!?

Under the Penal Code of 1883, abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka. So an abortion can only be performed to save the mother’s life.

Can a woman in Sri Lanka have an abortion to preserve her physical health? NO! Can a woman in Sri Lanka have an abortion to preserve her mental health? NO! Can a woman in Sri Lanka have an abortion when she is a victim of rape or incest? NO! Can a woman in Sri Lanka have an abortion because of foetal impairment? No!  Can a woman in Sri Lanka have an abortion because of economic or social reasons? NO! Can a woman in Sri La nka have an abortion simply because she wants to have one? NO!

A woman who persuades her own miscarriage is also subject to three years of imprisonment and/or pay of a fine. The service providers would have go through the same penalties (Penal Code 303). Even the Sri Lankan law hasn’t mentioned any required qualifications for the medical personnel who perform abortions. Whoever performs an abortion without the consent of a woman or cause death of such woman will be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to twenty years and shall be liable to fine (Penal Code 304 & 305).

MYTH: Because abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka (unless to save the mother’s life), abortion rates and abortion related complications are low!

FACT: Even though abortion is a criminal offence, 240, 055 abortions are performed annually in Sri Lanka showing an abortion rate of 45 to per 1,000 women in the age range of 15 – 49 years.

Abortions do take place and even in very expensive safe settings, like in private hospitals from qualified medical practitioners plus by back-door abortionists under unhygienic and primitive conditions which also results maternal deaths and ill health.

MYTH: Because abortions are illegal and not performed in hygienic and safe places and by unqualified service provider’s abortions do not happen in Sri Lanka!  

FACT: More than 750 unsafe abortions happen every day in Sri Lanka.

In several occasions abortion legislation of the country was studied by different stake holders but never the law was liberalized. Different stake holders do show the link between illegal abortion and maternal mortality in terms to relax abortion law.

MYTH: Women don’t die from abortions in Sri Lanka!

FACT: 12% of the maternal deaths in Sri Lanka are due to septic abortions which is the second common reason for maternal deaths.

Local health officials estimated the maternal mortality rate to be 250 deaths per 100,000 live births which 25% of them related to unsafe abortions (1999).

Government has sought of expand the services and information on family planning to address unwanted pregnancies. But it is questionable whether women in grass root level, urban communities have access to such information and services.

MYTH: All women in Sri Lanka can equally access for quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health services and information!

FACT: Unwanted pregnancies are commonly due to contraceptive failures or lack of access to information on sexual and reproductive health.

The modern contraceptive prevalence rate was estimated at 44 per cent in 1993.

Sri Lanka has a Reproductive Health Policy (1998) and a National Strategic Plan & Policy on Maternal and New Born health (2012-16). Sri Lanka also has ratified many international policy documents to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young girls including rights for safe abortion.

MYTH: Sri Lanka has very sound health policies which are inclusive and free! 

FACT: Policies doesn’t address all the SRHR needs of women and marginalized groups such as young girls, widows, commercial sex workers, single unmarried women, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender women though the policies stand for equality and non-discrimination. In the real level of work ensuring the rights towards abortion is missed out.    

OVERALL FACTS: Legal restrictions, awareness of possible complications, quality of service don’t prevent women from accessing for unsafe abortions!!!

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References –

Women and Media Collective – http://womenandmedia.org/

Family Planning Association – http://www.fpasrilanka.org/

Women on Waves – https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/4894/abortion-law-sri-lanka

UNFPA Sri Lanka – http://countryoffice.unfpa.org/srilanka/

By Lakmini Prabani Perera – Sri Lanka

එන්න අප හා එක්වන්න කාන්ත අයිතිවසිකම් වෙනුවෙන් හඩනගන්න, ඇයගේ අයිතිය සුරකින්න. ඔබේ හඩ අපට ඉමහත් ශක්තියක් වනු ඇත.

අනාරක්ෂිත ගබ්සාව ( Unsafe Abortion ) කිවුවම ඔයාල බලනව ඇති මොකක්ද මේ අනාරක්ෂිත ගබ්සාව කියල. එතකොට ආරක්‍ෂිත ගබ්සාව ( Safe Abortion )  කියලත් එකක් තියෙනවද කියල. මේක කියවල ඉවර උනාම ඔයාල දැනගනීවි අනාරක්ෂිත ගබ්සාව කියන්නේ මොකක්ද කියල සහ ආරක්‍ෂිත ගබ්සාව කියන්නේ මොකක්ද කියල.

  • අපි ඉස්සෙල්ල බලමු අපේ ශ්‍රීලංකාව තුල ගබ්සාව පිළිබද තියෙන නීතිය මොනවගේද කියල.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව සම්බන්දයෙන් බලන කල, ගර්භනිභාවය හෝ දරුවකු ප්‍රසුත කිරීම මවගේ ජීවිතයට තර්ජනයක් වන අවස්ථාවකදී පමණක් ගබ්සාව සදහා අවසර ලැබේ. තවද ගබ්සා සිදුකිරීම අපරාධ නීතිය යටතට ගැනෙන දඩුවම් ලැබිය හැකි වරදකි. දණ්ඩ නීති සංග්‍රහයේ 303 වගන්තියේ සිට 307 දක්වා වූ වගන්ති ඔස්සේ එකී නීතිමය තත්වය අර්ථ නිරූපණය කර ඇත.

  • අපි දැන් අවධානය යොමුකරමු ශ්‍රිලංකාවේ ගබ්සාව පිළිබද අතීතය සහ වර්තමානය පිලිබදව.

පවුල් සංවිධාන සංගමය (Family Planning Association) මගින් 1999 වර්ෂයේදී දී පවත්වනු ලැබූ ජාතික සමීක්ෂණයක් මඟින් වර්තා වූයේ 15 – 49 අතර වයස් කාණ්ඩයේ කාන්තාවන් 1000 කට ගබ්සාවන් 45 ක් සිදුකෙරන බවයි. මෙහි විශේෂ කරුණක් වනුයේ විවාහක යුවල අතර ගබ්සා සඳහා පෙළඹවීම 94% ක් වශයෙන් පැවතීම සහ කිසිදා විවාහයකට ඇතුළත් නොවූ කාන්තාවන් අතර ගබ්සා ප්‍රමාණය කාන්තාවන් 1000 කට 58 ක් වීමය.

වර්තමානය පිලිබදව ගතකල ඔබ පුදුමයට පත්වේවි, පවුල් සංවිධාන සංගමය ( Family Planning Association ) මගින් පවත්වනු ලැබූ ජාතික සමීක්ෂණයක් මඟින් වර්තා වූයේ ශ්‍රීලංකාව තුල 15 – 49 අතර වයස් කාණ්ඩයේ කාන්තාවන් අතර දෛනිකව ගබ්සාවන් 700 – 800 පමණ ප්‍රමාණයක් සිදුවන බවයි. එය වාර්ෂිකව ගත්කල 255500 – 292000 ක ප්‍රමාණයක් වනවා. මෙයින්ද විවාහක යුවල අතර ගබ්සා සඳහා පෙළඹවීම 85% – 95% අතර අගයක් ගැනීම සුවිශේෂී වනවාට සැකයක් නැහැ. මම කිවුවනේ මේක කියවන ඔයාල පුදුමවෙයි කියල.
දැන් අපි ඔබ බලාසිටි මාතෘකාවට අවදානය යොමුකරමු,

  • අනාරක්ෂිත ගබ්සාව ( Unsafe Abortion )

අනාරක්ෂිත ගබ්සාව කියන්නේ මනා පුහුණුවක් / නිසි සුදුසුකම් නොලත් පුද්ගලයන් විසින් අනාරක්ෂිත / අපිරිසිදු  අදුරු කාමරයක් තුලදී සිදුකරන ගබ්සාවන්. මේවා අනාරක්ෂිත වනවා සේම අයකරනා මුදල් ප්‍රමාණයද ඉතාමත් ඉහල අගයක් වනවා. මේ සදහා ඉදිකටු, බ්ලේඩ් තල සහ උල් කම්බි වගේ ආම්පන්න භාවිත කරනවා. ඒවාද ජීවානුහරණය නොකළ ආම්පන්න වීම තවත් අනාරක්ෂිත කරුණක් වනවා සේම මේ සදහා එන කාන්තාවන් මේ පුද්ගලයන් විසින් ලිංගික අපයෝජනයට ලක්වීමද සිදුවනවා ( ඒක හරියට අර සිංහලේ කතාවක් තියෙන්නේ “ගහෙන් වැටුණු මිනිහට ගොනා ඇන්න වගේ” කියල අන්න ඒ කතාව වගේ ). තවද මෙලෙස ජීවානුහරණය නොකළ ආම්පන්න මගින් ගබ්සාවන් කරගන්නා කාන්තාවන් විශාල ප්‍රමාණයක් පසු ආසාධනයන් නිසා ස්ථිර වද භාවයට පත්වීම වගේම ඔවුන්ගේ ජීවිතය අහිමි වීමද සිදුවනවා.

අපි දැන් බලමු මේ ලිපිය ලිවීමටද කරුණක් වුනු මෙම අනාරක්ෂිත තත්වයෙන් අපේ කාන්තාවන් මුදවා ගැනීමට එකම පිළිසරණ වන ආරක්‍ෂිත ගබ්සාව පිළිබදව,

  • ආරක්‍ෂිත ගබ්සාව ( Safe Abortion )

ඔබ සිතුවා හරියටම හරි. ආරක්‍ෂිත ගබ්සාව කියන්නේ මනා පුහුණුවක් / නිසි සුදුසුකම් ලත් වෛද්‍ය වරයකු  විසින් ආරක්ෂිත / පිරිසිදු  ශල්‍යාගාරයක් තුලදී සිදුකරන ශල්‍යකර්මයක් තුලින් ගබ්සාවන් සිදුකර ගැනීමයි. මෙහිදී වෛද්‍ය විද්‍යාව විසින් ලොව අනුමත ජීවානුහරණය කල වෛද්‍ය ආම්පන්න භාවිත කරමින් ගබ්සා ශල්‍යකර්මය කරන නිසා පසු ආසාදනය වීම් වලකන අතර මීලග ඔසප්වීමෙන් පසු ඔවුන්ට දරුවකු අවශ්‍ය නම් නැවත ගැබ්ගැනීමේ හැකියාවද ඇතිකරයි.

නමුත් ශ්‍රීලංකාව තුල ගබ්සාව නීතිගත කර නොමැති නිසා ආරක්‍ෂිත ගබ්සාව සදහා අප කාන්තාවන්ට අවස්ථාව නොමැත. මෙලොවට බිහි වීමට සිටිනා ස්වසනය නොකරන ජිවිතය ගැන සිතීමට පෙර මෙලොව පය ගසා ස්වසනය කරමින් ජීවත් වන එම කාන්තාවගේ අයිතිවාසිකම් වෙනුවෙන් හඩනගන්න ඇයගේ සහ ඔහුගේ ( පවුලේ ) තීරණ ගැනීමේ අයිතිය ඔවුන්ටම පවරන්න. මොකද ඔවුන්ට අවශ්‍ය නැතිව උපදින දරුවාට හොදට සලකන්නටද හොදට ඉගැන්වීමටද ඔවුන්ට අවශ්‍ය නැත. එවන් දරුවන් කවදා හෝ දවසක සමාජයට කැළලක් අවමානයක් කරමින් මිනීමරුවන්, ස්ත්‍රී දූෂකයන් සහ හොරුන් ලෙස අනාගතයේ සමාජයට එකතුවනු ඇත. එසේත් නොමැතිනම් අප රට තුල තව තවත් ළමා නිවාස බිහිකරමින් රජයේ මුදල් වියදම් කරමින් ඔවුන්ව නඩත්තු කරන්නට සිදුවනු ඇත. එසේත් නොමැතිනම් ගංගා ඇල දොළ වල පාවෙන ළමා මළකදන්, කුණුගොඩවල් වල කානු වල සහ වැසිකිලි වලවල් තුලින් මතුවන ළමා මලකදන් කිසිදාක අඩු නොවනු ඇති.

සත්‍ය තේරුම් ගනිමින් එන්න අප හා එක්වන්න කාන්ත අයිතිවසිකම් වෙනුවෙන් හඩනගන්න, ඇයගේ අයිතිය සුරකින්න. ඔබේ හඩ අපට ඉමහත් ශක්තියක් වනු ඇත.

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පසන් භාග්‍ය නානායක්කාර.
Pasan Bhagya Nanayakkara.
Youth Champion 2015 Asia Safe Abortion Partnership.
Trainer of Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka.
Y-TAC member Of Family Planning Association.
Y-PEER Sri Lanka, southern province focal point.

Nothing for Us without us- Sarah Soysa’s Blog for TARSHI

There are many mechanism, agendas and processes such as the post-2015 mechanism in development to ensure gender equality and ‘to leave no one behind.’ These are meant to work together with national strategies, global development discourse, Civil society, UN bodies, grassroots organisations, the corporate sector, etc. Human rights are not a gift and certainly not charity. Governments do not have to ‘give’ us our rights. We are entitled to these human rights from birth. But to realise these human rights and to fully benefit from them, it is very important that young people meaningfully participate and care about development agendas because they impact young people’s lives greatly.

Human rights violations have become rampant and take different forms. They range from violation of rights to education, rights to enjoy your sexuality, the right to access services specially related to sexual and reproductive health, the right to have a safe abortion, the right to love someone of the same sex etc.

Let’s begin with education, which is considered crucial and is one of the biggest investments in international development without doubt. However, the very way in which we define ‘education’ has erected hurdles for the realisation of sexual and reproductive rights. Unfortunately, young people in many countries do not receive comprehensive sexuality or relationship education with proper teacher and parent training and sensitisation. This has profound effects on health both during the adolescent years and also in later life. Lack of youth friendly health services and lack of knowledge of human rights and laws related to protecting rights fuel the gravity of this situation.  In many parts of the world, especially in Asia, which has the highest number of young people ever in history, we must realise that young people can contribute to society and the economy meaningfully as active citizens. In spite of an awareness of this huge demographic shift, there is a huge unmet need for information as well as services. It is best if the young people themselves are empowered to become agents of change and make these demands from their governments. They must be supported and recognised, and provided with safe spaces for advocacy and activism which allows them to engage deeply with discourses on rights, development and justice.

In order to reduce human rights violations, overcome these challenges and to change the existing pattern where young people are often offered a seat at the policy-making table merely as tokenism, it is crucial for young people to take leadership in advocating for their own rights and health. For this purpose, young people need sustained capacity building, mentoring and opportunities to represent their cause at relevant forums such as the post-2015 platform. It’s not only the responsibility of young people to be keen to participate in these dialogues and movements but also the responsibility of the international community — the UN, governments, civil societies, corporate sector and activists — to equip and support them. When allowed to participate, young people are expected to represent local and national issues, especially related to taboo subjects like sexuality and sexual and reproductive health and rights, voicing their opinions and needs in order to take issues forward. In order to make space for meaningful participation, there needs to be emphasis on processes that ensure their capacity building, sensitisation on gender and sexuality, training on advocacy, mentoring and partnership building.

Now onward to globalisation and its outcomes. In the Platform of Action resulting from the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women the application of gender perspectives to all legal and social norms and standards, to all policy development, research, planning, advocacy, development, implementation and monitoring as a mandate for all member states was adopted; this was also called gender mainstreaming. According to these mechanisms gender is supposed to be taken into account in all the policies, instead of formulating specific policies on gender, making matters related to gender central in the development agenda in all sectors: economic, social and political. However such gender mainstreaming, or even the MDGs and ICPD 2015 platforms have still failed to address gender inequality in a nuanced manner. One huge reason for this is that the gender focus tends to look at not at gender relations or prevailing assumptions about sexuality, masculinity and femininity, but specifically at women, and women as different from men. This marginalises people across the gender spectrum, particularly transgender folks, their statuses and relations with each other. Young people must recognise such disparities and advocate for such change themselves, in order to be able to make ‘development for all’ a lived reality.

Young people specifically face violence, discrimination, abuse and other challenges and hardships in their daily lives because of their age; this is a lived reality for them. Young people need to act ‘now’ taking the leadership in post-2015 and SDG platforms to shape the goals and indicators to suit their needs and create country level dialogues and platforms to get local and national inputs to them and implement the SDGs in their countries.

But young people were left out of the process that led to the formulation of development goals and platforms and mostly in the implementation until recent times. This is why young people have to take charge and ensure that these agreements, targets and commitments go from words on a piece of paper to policy to reality. Of course the UN jargon and development-speak seems scary and terrifying. But this should not worry us, because once we learn them and get the hang of it, they are pretty simple. I learnt this from my own experience as a young person when I first attended the Beijing +20 meeting in 2014 where we were taught all this jargon and were prepared to attend the meeting by a civil society organisation (IWHC). That helped all us young people a lot and we could meaningfully participate in negotiations and in the process. What I learnt on top of this is that as young people, we also must make sure to come up with a mechanism to monitor our nations and hold them accountable to us. Once again I would like to emphasise the importance of young people in post 2015 platforms where they get to lobby for these goals and indicators.

“Nothing for us without us.” That must be our demand.download

Future We Want #WomensHealthMatters #SRHR4ALL #May28

Hats off to all the incredible fearless folks who made this one day event a brilliant campaign with less than 24 hours’ notice! Access to safe and legal abortion is a basic human right that is often violated and contested. We condemn how governments and religious interpretations still decide on women’s bodies. Abortion is a personal decision and women should be able to seek abortion services with dignity. It is important that we do not believe in myths and control women’s bodies. Trust women Respect them and their choices! ‘Ultimately, political action can be effective only if women believe in and own their rights’. So own it!

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  • Let her decide it’s her right
  • Even in this time and age “choice” is still a luxury limited to men
  • Every woman and girl need to have access to safe legal and affordable abortion services
  • Being prochoice is about trusting her to make the correct decision for her and her family
  • Women should have access to accurate information on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights
  • Your body your choice
  • Safe and legal abortion is a Human right
  • It is imparative that access to safe and legal abortion is recognised as a right not just as a way of reducing deaths caused by unsafe abortions but as a part of a women;s righto make choices regarding her body
  • SRH is a need of women and girls, a need in the society’
  • I respect my mother, my sister and so do the other women with differentiation Id believe that they all have the right to choose what they want in their life. I care and support SRHR
  • Violation of women’s SRHR is a violation of human rights
  • Chosing to abort a fetus is perhaps the most difficult choice a teenager or a woman will make lets give her the chance to seek abortion services with dignity
  • No one should be forced to have a child against their will because there are no other safe and legal options whether or not to have an abortion should be a personal decision
  • I think men have no right to speak to speak put against safe abortion it should be a decision of the woman
  • Until and unless I can control my body I cant say I have freedom
  • Accurate info on safe abortion should be made available and accessible through health care systems
  • If its my body and my decision I don’t think u have any say in it.
  • Respect basic human rights
  • Give her your support to make the right decision and choice
  • If its my body then why is it politicians decision not mine?
  • If men got pregnant abortion wuld have been legal affordable and accesbile decades back
  • The state has a duty to ensure that women have access to safe and legal services so that they can make informed and safe decisions
  • Remove your masculine mask then u can look at womens health rights as your own rights
  • Gender equality ecompasses right to safe abortion and RH or women
  • There is no tragedy in abortion the real tragedy is that women are not respected enough to be given the opprtuntiy to make the life decisions without being trapped by laws.
  • Abortion isn’t a sin not a crime its health care service
  • There is no such thing called no abortion there is either safe or unsafe abortion government should be accountable in providing safe abortion services in guaranteeing basic human rights to its citizens
  • Its better to have an abortion than to have an unwanted child
  • If boundaries have been set to prevent a woman from a woman making her life choices independently then that society is a primitive undemocratic
  • Women’s health is much more than maternal health
  • Service fee should not be the case that leads a woman to access unsafe abortions
  • Everyday women find grand and small ways to circumnavigate patriarchal heteronomative scripts. Look for them because they are the most beautiful of things
  • Having an abortion is not being irresponsible its excercging reproductive autonomy
  • Everyone knows that carrying a baby is the biggest challenge for a woman have you ever thought what a woman undergoes while carrying an unwanted pregnancy?
  • If only stigma surrounding comprehensive sexuality education is changed we would see a different picture

Copy rights ASK US SRI LANKA

பெண்களின் பாலியல் மீதான கலாச்சார ஒடுக்குதல்கள் -ஆணாதிக்க கலாச்சாரங்கள் மீதான ஒரு பெண்ணியல் வாசிப்பு-

-Imam Adhnan-

இலங்கை போன்ற ஆணாதிக்கக் கலாச்சாரங்களையும் மதங்களையும் செறிவாகக் கொண்ட நாடுகளில், பல்வேறுபட்ட நிறுவனங்களும் கொள்கைகளும் சட்டங்களும் ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்ட பின்பும் பெண்களின் இருப்பானது விளிம்பு நிலைக்குத் தள்ளப்பட்டபடியே காணப்படுகின்றன.பெண்களுக்கான சமவுரிமை, சுதந்திரம், பாதுகாப்பு என்பன இன்னும் எட்டாக் கனியாகவே எஞ்சியிருக்கிறது. இதனை எய்துவதற்குப் பெரும் தடைகளாக கலாச்சாரக் காவலாளிகளும் மதப்பீரங்கிகளும் அர்த்தமற்று வன்முறையாக இயங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள்.

பெண்களுக்கான சமவுரிமை என்பதையே ஒவ்வாமையாக ஒங்களிக்கப் பார்க்கும் நம்சமூகங்களில், பெண்களின் பாலியல் சுதந்திரம், பாலியல் அனுபவித்தல் பற்றிய கதையாடல்களை முன்வைப்பது கொடூரமான குற்றமாகவே கருதக்கூடும். இப்பிரதியானது பெண்களின் பாலியல் உணர்தலை; அனுபவித்தலை ஒடுக்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கும் கரங்களை வட்டமிட்டுக் காட்டுவதாகவும் காட்டமான விமர்சனங்களை முன்வைப்பதாகவும் அமையெப்பெற்றிருக்கும்.

பாலியல் என்பது ஒவ்வொரு உயிரிகளினதும் அடிப்படைத் தேவைகளில் ஒன்று. அது மனிதனின் உடல், உள, சமூக ஆரோக்கியத்துடன் பின்னிப்பிணைந்த அம்சம். அது ஒவ்வொரு மனிதனினதும் உரிமை. சுதந்திரம். இது பெண் என்ற உயிரினத்திற்கும் உரித்தானது. ஆனால் நிகழ்வாழ்வில் பாலியல் என்பது ஆண்களால் தீர்மாணிக்கப்படுகின்ற ஆண்களுக்கே உரித்தான ஒன்றாகவே சுழற்ச்சிக்கு உட்படுத்தப்படுகின்றன. அது மட்டுமன்றி பெண்களின் பாலியல் பல்வேறு தளங்களிலும் மட்டுப்பத்தி ஒடுக்கப்படுகின்றன.

பெண்களின் பாலியல் உணர்தலை; அனுபவித்தலை ஒடுக்குவதற்குப் பின்னுள்ள பிரதான ஊக்கி என்னெவெனில், தங்களின் பெண் துணை இன்னொருவருடன் பாலியல் இன்பத்தைப் பகிர்ந்து கொள்வாள் என்ற ஆண் மைய கருதுகோளும் அவனது பொறாமை உணர்வும்தான். பெண்களைஆண்கள் தாங்கள் கையகப்படுத்தி வைத்திருக்கும் சொத்தாகவும் அதனை இன்னொருவர் உபயோகித்து விடக்கூடாது என்ற அடிப்படையில் காலங்காலமாக மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டு வந்த நடைமுறைகளின் பெறுபேறுகளாகவே பெண்களின் மீதான பாலியல் ஒடுக்குதல்கள், செயல் வடிவங்களிலும் கருத்தியல் வடிவங்களிலும் நம்கலாச்சாரக் கோணிப் பைக்குள் நிரம்பிக்கிடக்கின்றன.

பெண்களின் பாலியல் ஒடுக்குதலுடன் தொடர்புபட்ட இரு கோட்பாடுகளை அறிந்து கொள்வது அது பற்றிய புரிதலை மேலும் ஆளப்படுத்தலாம்.

  1. ஆணின் கட்டுப்படுத்தல் கோட்பாடு (Male control theory) :

இக்கோட்பாடு முன்வைக்கும் கருத்தியல்: ‘பெண்ணின்  இயற்கைத் தன்மை அதிகளவு பாலியல் இன்பத்தை தேடி அலைவதாகவும், அடிக்கடி பலருடன் அவள் உடலுறவு வைத்துக்கொள்ள நாடுவதாகவும் அமையப்பெற்றிருக்கிறது எனவும் ஆண்கள் இணைந்து உருவான கூட்டுமனம்,  தங்களின் பெண்துணை இன்னொருவருடன் பாலியல் இன்பத்தை அனுபவிப்பதற்கான சந்தர்ப்பங்களை வழங்கிவிடக் கூடாது என்பதற்காய் பெண்களின் பாலியல் அனுபவித்தலை ஒடுக்கிவிடும் முகமாக உணர்ச்சிகளை ஒடுக்கும் நடவடிக்கைகளையும், புனிதக் கருத்தியல்களையும், சமூக மதிப்புகளையும், ஒழுக்க வரையறைகளையும், தண்டனைகளையும் உருவாக்கின’ என்பதாகும்.

  1. பெண்ணின் கட்டுப்படுத்தல்  கோட்பாடு (Female control theory)

இக்கோட்பாடானது பாலியலை “ஆண் தேடியலையும் சொத்தாகவும் பெண் அதனைத் தன்னகப்படுத்தி வைத்திருப்பதாகவும்” முன்வைக்கிறது. அதாவது பெண் தன் கட்டுப்பாட்டுக்குள் வைத்திருக்கும், ஆணிற்குத் தேவையான பாலியலை, அவனிடமிருந்து வேறொரு பொருளையோ விடயத்தினையோ பெற்றுக் கொள்வதனூடாக வளங்குகிறாள். இப்படி பெண் தங்களின் கட்டுப்பாட்டுக்குள் வைத்திருக்கும் பாலியலின் தேவையையும் (demand) விலையையும் அதிகரிக்க பெண்கள் இணைந்து உருவான கூட்டுமனம் தங்களிடமுள்ள பாலியலின் அளவினைக் குறைத்து அரிதான நிலையை (scarcity ) உருவாக்க முனைந்ததன் வெளிப்பாடே பெண்களின் மீதான பாலியல் ஒடுக்குதல் நடவடிக்கைகளும் கருத்தியல்களுமாகும்.

வீட்டிற்கு வெளியிலான பொதுச் செயற்பாடுகளிலும் உழைத்துப் பொருளீட்டும் நடவடிக்கைகளிலும் ஈடுபடுவதற்கான வாய்ப்புக்கள் முற்றாக இறுக்கி அடைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும் சமூகங்களில் பெண்களின் இத்தகைய கட்டுப்படுத்தல்கள் நிகழலாம்.

இவ்விரு கோட்பாட்டுப் புரிதலுடனும் நம்கலாச்சாரம் முன்வைக்கும் பொதுப்புத்திக் கருத்தியல்களையும் செயற்பாடுகளையும் கேள்விக்குட்படுத்துவது பல ஒடுக்குமுறைகளை வெளிச்சம் போட்டுக் காட்டக்கூடும்.

பிறப்புறுப்பை சிதைத்தலும் பாலியல் ஒடுக்குதல்களும்

பெண்களின் யோனி மூலமானது அதிகளவு உணர்ச்சி மிகுந்த சிறு சதைப் பகுதி. ஆண்மைய சமுதாயங்களில் பெண்களின் அப்பகுதியை சுடுவதனூடாக, அதனை வெட்டி எடுப்பதனூடாக,கீறிப்பிளந்து விடுவதனூடாக அல்லது உள்வைத்துத் தைத்துவிடுவதனூடாக பெண்களின் பாலியல் அனுபவித்தல் கட்டுப்படுத்துகின்றன. இது ஆபிரிக்கா, சூடான் போன்ற எங்கோ இருக்கும் நாடுகளில் இடம்பெறும் விடயமல்ல; இலங்கை முஸ்லிம்களுக்கு மத்தியில் இன்றுவரை இக்கொடூரச் செயல் நிகழவே செய்கிறது. அதிலும் கொழும்பு போன்ற தலைநகரில் இரண்டு மாதங்களுக்கு முன் பிறந்த பெண் சிசுவுக்கும் அதனை மேற்கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள் என்ற செய்தி பேரதிர்ச்சியாகவே இருந்தது. இக்கொடூர செயலை சடங்காக செய்வது பெண்கள்தான். பெண்களுக்குப் பாலியல் உணர்வு அதிகம், அதனைக் கட்டுப்படுத்தவே அதனை செய்கிறோம் என்ற பிரஞ்கையுடன்தான் இக்கொடூரம் நிகழ்த்தப்படுகிறது.

பாரிய  ஒடுக்குதல்  ஆயுதமாய்  ஒழுக்கம்

கூடாது.. பாவம்.. தப்பு.. இவைகள்தான் நம் சமூகங்களில் ஒழுக்கத்தை வரையறை செய்யும் வார்த்தைகள். பெண் பொது இடங்களில் ஆண்களுடன் சிரித்துப் பேசக்கூடாது, ஆணை தொட்டுப் பேசக்கூடாது, அப்படி நிற்கக் கூடாது, இப்படி  நடக்கக் கூடாது, அப்படிப் பார்க்கக் கூடாது, தன் மகள் அல்லது சகோதரி காதலிக்கக் கூடாது, என்று எத்தனையோ கூடாதுகள் பெண்களைச் சுற்றி ஒழுக்கம் என்ற பெயரில் கூரிய ஆயுதங்களுடன் குவிந்து கிடக்கின்றன.

பாதுகாப்பு என்ற பெயரில் தன் குடும்பப் பெண்கள் மீதான ஆண்களின் கண்கானிப்பு, ஒரு ஆண் துணையுடனேயே வெளிச்செல்ல அனுமதி வழங்குதல், அவளின் அலைபேசியை சோதித்தல், சமூகவலைத் தளங்களைக் கண்கானிதல், அவள் உடையின் அளவை; இறுக்கத்தைத் தீர்மானித்தல் என நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள ஒவ்வொரு கலாச்சாரங்களும் மதங்களும் முன்வைக்கும் ஒழுக்கம் பெண்களை ஒழுங்குபடுத்துவதையே குறிவைத்து இயங்குகிறது. வீதியோரக் காவாலிகள் விசிலடித்துக் கிண்டல் செய்தாலும், பொதுப் போக்குவரத்து வாகனங்களில் உரசப்பட்டாலும், அவள்  வல்லுறவுக்கு உட்படுத்தப்பட்டாலும் நம் கலாச்சார மண்டைகளுக்குப் படுவதெல்லாம் பெண்களின் உடைகளும் நடத்தைகளும்தான்.

பெண்களின் கால் நகம் முதல் தலைமுடி வரை ஒவ்வொரு அங்கங்களுக்கும் பாலியல் விளக்கங்களையும் பொருட்கோடல்களையும் வளங்கிவைத்திருக்கும் நம் கலாச்சாரம், காட்டமான தூசன வார்த்தைகளைப் பெண் களின் பாலியல் உறுப்புக்கள் சார்ந்தும், பெண்ணின் பாலியல் நடத்தைகள் சார்ந்துமே உருவாக்கிவைத்திருக்கிறது. இவைகள் பெண்கள் பாதிக்கப்படுவதற்கும் ஒடுக்கப்படுவதற்குமான ஏதுநிலைகளை  அதிகரித்து  விட்டிருக்கிறது.

பாலியல் குறித்து கதைத்துக் கொள்வது பொதுவில் பாவமான செயலாகப் புரியப்பட்டுள்ள போதிலும் ஒரு ஆண் பாலியல் பற்றிப் பேசிக்கொள்வதைச் சகித்துக்கொள்ளும் பொதுமனம், பெண் ஒருத்தி பாலியல் குறித்து கதைத்தால் அவளுக்கென ‘அடங்காதவள்’ ‘அலைபவள்’ ‘ஒழுக்கங்கெட்டவள்’ போன்ற பெயர்களைச் சூட்டி அவளின் பாலியல் குறித்த உரையாடலுக்கு முற்றுப் புள்ளி வைத்துவிடுகின்றன. இவைகளெல்லாம் பெண்களின் பாலியலை ஒடுக்கும் ஆணாதிக்க அரசியலின் வடிவங்கள். பாலியல் பற்றி பெண்கள் உரையாடிக் கொள்வதையே தடுத்துவிடுவதனூடாக அவர்கள் தங்களின் பாலியல் பற்றிய உணர்தலையும் விருப்பங்களை உருவாக்கிக் கொள்வதையும் மட்டுப்படுத்தி அவர்களை பாலியல் ஊமையர்களாக மாற்றிவிடுகின்றன.

உன்னத  அன்னையர்  பதாகைகளும்  பாலியல் ஒடுக்குதல்களும்

எல்லா சமூகங்களிலும் அதிகம் போற்றப்படும் சொல் ‘தாய்’. தாய்மை அடைவது பெரும் பாக்கியம்; தாய்மை பெண்ணின் உச்சம்; தாய்மையே பெண்ணை முழுமையாக்குகிறது; தாய்மை அடையாதவள் அபாக்கியவதி; முற்றும் இழந்தவள்; மலடி… இப்படியாக எத்தனையோ சொல்லாடல்களும் கதையாடல்களும் நிரம்பி வழிகின்றன.

பெண்களை பல்வேறு வகைகளிலும் பாகுபாடுகாட்டி ஒடுக்கும் நம் கலாச்சாரம் தாய் என்று வருகின்ற போது மட்டும் ஏன் இத்தனை மரியாதைகளும் போற்றுதல்களும்..? பத்து மாதம் சுமந்து வலி பொறுத்து ஒவ்வொரு மனிதப் பிறவியையும் பெற்றெடுப்பதினாலா..? விழித்துக் கொள்ளுங்கள்..! உன்னத அன்னையர் பதாகைகளுக்குப் பின்னால் பெரும் ஆணாதிக்க அரசியலே இயங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. பெண்களின் தாய்மையைப் போற்றுவதற்குப் பின்னால் இருப்பதெல்லாம் குழந்தைகளைப் பெற்றுக் கொள்வதை, பிள்ளைகளைப் பராமரிப்பதை, வீட்டுக்குள்ளேயே ஒடுங்கிக் கிடப்பதை உற்சாகப்படுத்தவும்; வீட்டிற்கு வெளியிலான பெண்களின் சமூக பங்குபற்றுதலை; நிர்ணயிக்கும் உரிமையை அல்லது வாய்ப்பை நுணுக்கமாக அடைத்துவிடும்  நுண்புல ஆணாதிக்க அரசியல்தான்.

இத்தகைய தாய்மைப் போற்றுதலானது அவளின் சிந்திப்பை மழுங்கடிக்கிறது, தன் தேவைகளை, விருப்பங்களை குழந்தைகளுக்காய்; தாய் என்ற ஸ்தானத்துக்காய் தியாகம் செய்யத் தூண்டிவிடுகிறது. அவளின் பாலியல் வாழ்வும் அனுபவித்தலும் கூட சிறந்த தாய் என்ற சொல்லால் மட்டுப்படுத்தப்படுகிறது. திருமணம் முடிக்கும் வயதுக்கு வந்த பிள்ளைகளின்  தாய்மார்கள் தன் துணையுடன் பாலியல் உறவு கொள்வதை தவிர்த்துவிடுவதும், குழந்தையை உடைய விதவைப் பெண் மறுமணம் செய்வைதைத் தவிர்ப்பதும் ‘உன்னத அன்னை’ என்ற பெருமையைக் காப்பாற்றவே.

திருமணமும்  பாலியல்  ஒடுக்குதல்களும்

பெண்களது திருமண வாழ்வின் துவக்கமும் நீட்சியும் அவளின் தியாகம், அவளின் சகிப்பு, அவளின் விட்டுக் கொடுப்பு, அவளின் அனுசரிப்பு, அவளின் பொறுத்துக் கொள்ளல் என்பவற்றின் அடிப்படையில்தான் தங்கியிருக்கிறது. அவளுக்கான துணையை குடும்பத்தின் ஆண் தீர்மாணிக்கிறான்; அவளோ மறுப்பின்றி ஏற்றுக் கொள்கிறாள் (மறுப்பிருந்தாலும் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளத்தான் வேண்டும்). அங்கு அவளின் விருப்பம் ஊமையாக்கப்படுகிறது. அவளின் குடும்பமும் ஆண்மனமும் அவளுக்கு மிகச்சிறந்த வாழ்க்கையை வழங்கிவிட்டதாக பெருமிதம் கொள்கின்றன.

அடுத்த முக்கியமான ஒடுக்கு முறை திருமணத்திற்குப் பின்பான பாலியல் வல்லுறவு(marital rape).  இது அதிகம் பேசப்படுவதில்லை. இலங்கை போன்ற நாடுகளில் கணவனால் மேற்கொள்ளப்படும் வல்லுறவு குற்றமாக சட்டம் வரையறுக்காத நிலையில், திருமணம் என்பது பெண்களின் மீதான வல்லுறவை மேற்கொள்வதற்கு ஆணுக்கு வழங்கப்படும் அனுமதிப் பத்திரமாகவே அமைந்துவிடுகிறது.

இணக்கம் கேட்கப்பட்டு விருப்பம் வழங்கப்பட்ட நிலையில் நிகழும் உடலுறவைத் தவிர்த்து மற்றய முறைகளில் அதாவது வற்புறுத்தியோ வலுக்கட்டாயமாகவோ துன்புறுத்தியோ மேற்கொள்வது பாலியல் வல்லுறவாகக் கருதப்படுகிறது; அது திருமணம் முடித்தவரின் விருப்பின்றி நிகழ்ந்தாலும் சரியே. இலங்கையில் திருமணத்திற்குப் பின்பான பாலியல் வல்லுறவு (துணைவர்களால்) ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் 45 பெண்களின் மீது நிகழ்த்தப்படுகின்றன.(Women in need, 2014). கணவன் அழைத்தால் மனைவி அடுப்பங்கரையில் பிஸியாக இருந்தாலும், சட்டெனெ தன்னை தயார்படுத்திக் கொண்டு கணவனைத் திருப்திப்படுத்த உந்தித் தள்ளும் நம் கலாச்சாரமும் மதமும், திருமணத்தின் பின்பும் பெண்ணின் பாலியல் விருப்பங்களை விளிம்புனிலைக்கு ஒதுக்கிவிட்ட நிலையிலேயே பேணிப்பாதுகாக்கின்றன.

மனைவியிருக்க அவளின் அனுமதியின்றி இரண்டாம் திருமணம் முடிக்கும் ஆண்களை ஏற்றுக்கொள்வதோடல்லாமல் அவன் பலசாலியென கதையாடும் பொதுமனம், கணவனை இழந்த ஒரு பெண் மறுமணம் செய்வதை அவ்வளவு அருவருப்பாகப்  பார்க்கிறது. பல பெண்களை ரசித்து சேட்டை செய்து தன்பால் ஈர்க்கும் ஆண்களை மன்மதன்களாக உருவகித்து பெருமிதப்படுத்தும் கலாச்சாரங்கள், ஒருத்தனைத் தவிர இன்னொருத்தனை நிமிர்ந்து பார்த்தால் கூட அப்பெண்ணுக்கு வேசைப் பட்டம் சூட்டி இழிவுபடுத்தி விடுகின்றன.

திருமணம் முடித்த பெண் திருமணமானதை அடையாளம் காட்டும் கலாச்சார அம்சங்களான குங்குமப் பொட்டிடல், மெட்டியணிதல், தாலிக்கொடி ,மோதிரம், வேறான உடையணிதல் என்பன காணப்படுகின்றன. இவைகள் அப்பெண்கள்  இன்னொருவருக்குச் சொந்தமானவர்களென அடையாளப் படுத்துகின்றன. அவர்களின் கணவன் இறந்துவிட்டாலோ முஸ்லிம் பெண்கள் ‘4 மாதம் 10 நாள் வீட்டுக்குளேயே ‘இத்தா’ அனுஸ்டிக்க வேண்டியிருக்கிறது. தங்களை அலங்கரித்துக் கொள்வதை உதறிவிட்டு கவர்ச்சியற்ற எழிமையான வெள்ளாடை அணிந்து கொள்ள வைக்கிறது நம் கலாச்சாரம். இந்த ஏற்பாட்டின் பின்னணி அவளை அழகற்று வெறிச்சோடச் செய்வதும் அதனால் மற்றய ஆண்கள் அவள் பால் ஈர்ப்படைவதை தடுப்பதுமாகும்.

அதன் பிறகும் அவள் அழகாகத் தென்பட்டு இன்னொருத்தனை மணக்க வாய்ப்புத் தென்படுகிறதா…? இருக்கவே இருக்கு பல நூற்றாண்டுகளாக போற்றப்பட்டு போதிக்கப்பட்டு வரும் கருத்தியலான “பத்தினி(ப்)பணியாரமும்) பதிவிரதை (கஞ்சாவும்)”. இவ்வுன்னத சமூக மதிப்பான பத்தினிப் (பணியாரத்தினை) பாதுகாக்கும் நோக்கில் பெண்ணாணவள் தன் ஆசை விருப்பங்களுக்கு முடிச்சிப் போட்டுக் கொள்கிறாள். பதிவிரதை எனும் கஞ்சா அவளை சுயநினைவுக்கு வரவிடாது தன் ஆசைகளை உணரவிடாது ஒருவகை போதை நிலையில் வைத்துக்கொள்கின்றன.

இப்படியாக பெண் மீது பல்வேறு ஒடுக்குதல்களை அரங்கேற்ற உறுதுணையளிக்கும்; நியாயங்களை வழங்கும் கலாச்சாரங்களும் மதங்களும் ஆண்களின் கூட்டு மண்டைகளால் உற்பத்திசெய்யப்பட்டு புனித முலாமிடப் பட்டிருக்கின்றன. எத்தனையோ நூற்றாண்டுகளாக பின்பற்றி வந்த, சிறுவயதிலிருந்து சமூகமயப்படுத்தப்படு உண்மைகளாக ஏற்றுக் கொள்ளப்பட்டிருக்கும் இக்கலாச்சார, சமய வன்முறைப் பழக்கவழக்கங்களையும், கருத்தியல்களையும், சமூக மனோனிலையையும் மாற்றுதல் என்பது தலையின் நரை மயிரை அலேக்காகப் பிடுங்கி விடுவதைப் போன்ற விடயமல்ல. அது நீண்டகால யுகக்கூட்டு முயற்ச்சியை வேண்டி நிற்கும் அம்சம். இருந்தும் இப்பிரதி சமூகத்தளத்தில் சிறு சலனத்தையேனும் ஏற்படுத்துமென்ற நம்பிக்கையுண்டு.

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உசாத்துணைகள்

  1. Baumeister, F.&Twenge, M. (2002) Cultural Suppression of Female Sexuality.Review of General Psychology, Vol 6, No 2, pp.166 –203.
  2. Limpus, L. (1978) Liberation of Women: Sexual Repression and the Family. Landon: New England Free Press
  3. Jayakody,R.L. &Sooriyakumar, R.A. (2014) Marriage as a licence to rape, Ceylon today [available at http://www.ceylontoday.lk/90-77678-news-detail-marriage-as-a-licence-to-rape.html ] [viewed on 22/02/2015].