(MENAFN - Colombo Gazette)
Women across Sri Lanka have joined the #MeToo campaign against sexual abuse.
The campaign was kicked off by actress Alyssa Milano following sexual abuse allegations raised against movie executive Harvey Weinstein.
More than 40 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harrasment, abuse or rape.
In Sri Lanka, actresses, journalists, mothers and young girls posted notes on their Facebook supporting the #MeToo campaign, with some saying they had also faced abuse.
"Me too, over and over again If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me Too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem we face. Love and solidarity to everyone saying it and everyone not saying it. We are, each of us, sharing only as much we are able to," journalist and mother Marianne David said in a Facebook post.
Mother of two girls, Aruni Wijayaratna said that people always tell her to dress 'modestly' when leaving the house, a lesson she has had to teach her daughters as well.
"But apparently, some men don't care how you dress to feel the need to humiliate and embarrass and threaten women. I've had school boys wanting to 'give me', a man following me in a car and 'playing with himself, being groped at an office function because 'they were drunk and not in their proper senses'. This harassment of women will only change when we stop treating our sons like princes, as is part of the South Asian culture, and teach them about respecting women," she said in a post on her Facebook.
According to reports, as of Tuesday morning, Milano's tweet has over 19,000 retweets, more than 40,000 likes, and a whopping 55,000 replies. The hashtag has been used over half a million times on Twitter, and more than 6 million people are discussing "Me too" on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara spoke this week to more than 100 school children about the need to end violence against women and girls at the Ministry of Education.
The Minister of Education, the Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, the European Union Ambassador, Tung-Lai Margue, and Gender Specialist, Mrs. Sriyani Perera, joined Mahela and Kumar on stage to speak out about the continuing high levels of violence directed against women and girls in everyday life.
Minister Kariyawasam and Ambassador Margue introduced a video, featuring Mahela and Kumar, which will be circulated to schools in the country to increase awareness of the problem. The video was produced by the European Union (EU) Delegation to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,
Commenting on the initiative, Minister Kariyawasam said, "The Government of Sri Lanka is strongly committed to the elimination of Violence Against Women, and has taken significant steps to combat its prevalence. However, it still requires consistent and concerted efforts to challenge and change attitudes and behaviours that normalise and reinforce violence against women. I'm really grateful that Mahela and Kumar have been willing to give their time to highlight that this sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. I'd also like to express my thanks to the European Union, working in conjunction with the Family Rehabilitation Centre, for their support in raising awareness about this problem."
"We were delighted when Kumar and Mahela agreed to become our Envoys for Women's Rights. It's really important that Sri Lankan men hear from such role models about this serious and deep-rooted issue." said H.E. Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue. "Studies have shown that more than half of the women in Sri Lanka have experienced some form of violence, but there is a dearth of open public discussion around the problem. Prevention of violence against women and girls starts with better educating and informing children in schools. We believe that having Kumar and Mahela speak about the issue will help make it easier to talk about the issue in public. The initiative is part of our long-term commitment to fight gender discrimination and to raise awareness of gender issues both in Sri Lanka and in the wider world." (Colombo Gazette)