Sirisena takes up cudgels for battered women

... says 50 per cent of rural married women face domestic violence

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday lamented that 50 per cent of the married women in rural areas were subject to domestic violence amidst abject poverty. Some women were opting for separation from their husbands and sought some sort of employment to stand on their own feet. Sri Lanka should follow the Indian example and create a national clamour against such violence, he said.

Minister Sirisena told The Island that though many women’s welfare organisations had been established in the country to win the rights of the women, no such organisation had come forward to protest the despicable plight of rural women.

The Minister pointed out that due to poverty, a rural woman was forced marry any man. On most occasions the men village girls married were addicted to drugs or alcohol. Minister Sirisena added that most of the affected wives were not interested in making complaints to either the police or to the Grama Niladaris but silently bore all the hardship for the sake of their children. The time had come to end such domestic violence and to achieve that goal it was the bounden duty of all women’s organisations and the people of the country to act decisively, as in India following the gang rape of a medical student there and her subsequent death, he said.

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