The One Billion Rising (OBR) Revolution, a world-wide movement against violence against women, launched its Sri Lanka campaign this year.
It includes postcards with personal experiences of marginalisation and daily violence against women.
“We asked women and girls from across the country to send us their stories and experiences. Hundreds of postcards have been delivered to us, which we will deliver to the Minister of Justice,” said Marisa de Silva, OBR convener for Sri Lanka.
The initiative began on 14 February, Valentine’s Day. “In Colombo, in Independence Square, we held a large rally against violence and discrimination. Women and girls have been the protagonists.”
“We showed passers-by our aims through various events, such as music, poetry, feminist readings, performances and lots of laughter. Another event was held in the North-eastern province, in Batticaloa.”
Some postcards were displayed on a banner at the rally in the square.
De Silva invites all the women who have suffered harassment and mistreatment to send their stories to Post Box n. 56/1, Sarasavi Lane, Caste Street, Colombo 08. “There is time until the end of the month, and we will send them to the minister. We have already sent whole batches,” she explained.
“Decades of advocacy have taught us how difficult, if not impossible, to dismantle the misogynist old boys’ culture, which covers up sexual harassment and abuse. Whatever progress we have made stems only from the many women’s activists who have gone out on a limb to make change happen.”
“Women must come forward more to protect their own womanhood or girlhood,” said Shirley Perera, a young woman who took part in the rally. “Men too must support women more to raise their voice to stop violence against women”.
“This type of action should be brought to other towns and villages as well,” said Rakhitha Gunawardana, another participant. If it remains in Colombo, “it will be seen or heard by only a few people. Organisers should plan to bring it to the whole country, if they really want to spread their message and stop violations and discrimination against women in Sri Lanka.”
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