23 September, 2019

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Dear Rosy, Is Beauty Only Skin-Deep?

By Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage

Open Letter to Rosy Senanayake on your Satana Program Response regarding Vidya

Mrs Rosy Senanayake

State Minister for Child Affairs

Dear Mrs Senanayake,

It was with much interest that we looked forward to your participation in the Satana Program of 28 May 2015 on the burning topic of “Ethics, the law and the death of Vidya”. We did not expect much from Mrs Vijayakala Maheswaran nor Mr Ranjith Soysa. However many of us were disappointed with your response. Of course at the time we had forgotten that even when you were faced with verbal sexual harassment from former Minister Kumara Welgama, you didn’t address it seriously enough. You also did not object to sexually coloured comments directly made to the participants by Mr Mervyn Silva, where you too were in the panel of judges at a reality show. Furthermore, when you were affronted by Mr S. B Dissanayake’s uncouth comments to Ms Chandrika Kumaranatunga, did you raise your objections?

Rosy

Cultivate real knowledge

Despite the fact that you have been exposed to the discourse on gender based violence over a long time and despite the fact that you were a significant part of the Women’s Commission set up by Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe and even being one of the co-chairs of the Women Parliamentarian’s caucas, you seem not to have grasped the fundamentals behind gender based violence. It will be good for a start for all 13 women parliamentarians to have a close mentoring from Mr Bimal Ratnayake, who seemed to have an in depth knowledge and able to properly analyse the situation and the social landscape. The rest of the Parliamentarians should follow.

Understanding the root causes and the analysis

As Bimal Ratnayake clearly explained, the fundamental cause of such a happening is the unequal power relations between men and women. These unequal relations have entered the institutions and fabric of society. So much so that the information of the missing girl was disregarded by the Police as the girl having eloped. The portrayal of the girl on media was a reflection of how men view women – as playthings, as chattels. We can go on and we should analyse the issues from governance to parenting.

Gaining political mileage

It was sad that you attempted to gain political mileage on the body of Vidya. This clearly portrays a lack of sensitivity and commitment. It also puts a question mark on the ethics of life that you follow in gaining such mileage. To be honest to your mandate for children and humanity as whole it will be good to gain in depth knowledge on this deep seated issue as mentioned above and look at solutions based on the analysis and evidence. If you imagine that printing a booklet is the means to an end of a scourge, that thinking is rather naïve.

Action

Being the State Minister of Child Affairs, you together with the Minister of Women’s Affairs should put the following into action for a sustainable solution:

1. Convene a multi sector body to look at the social determinants of violence and design a multi sectoral response. This should include Education, Media, Finance, Samurdhi, Justice, the forces particularly police, Health, Local Government to name but a few. Activities should permeate to the grassroots.

2. Make gender disaggregated databases readily available at all levels.

3. Strengthen the women’s and children’s desks in Police stations in a meaningful manner. Much research has been done and actions can be based on weaknesses identified.

4. Practical gender learning programs should be designed for all parliamentarians and decision makers, not to engage on myth based thinking

5. Make engaging men and boys in the way forward for reducing gender based violence.

Please don’t let the saying “beauty is only skin deep” hold true in your case. Make sure that beauty and real brainwork is the sustainable way to empowering women and girl children.

Best regards,

Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage

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  • 6
    3

    Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage –

    RE: Dear Rosy, Is Beauty Only Skin-Deep?

    “Action

    Being the State Minister of Child Affairs, you together with the Minister of Women’s Affairs should put the following into action for a sustainable solution:”

    Yes, If she does not know how to do her job, show her how to do it.

    Yes, increasing the percentage of women in parliament does very little to help the girls and women who are abused every day.

    Will increasing the percentage of women in Parliament make matters worse, or better. What does the data say?

    • 7
      3

      Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage –

      RE: Dear Rosy, Is Beauty Only Skin-Deep?

      “Action

      See What WFR press conference on CSR is doing. They are real women. You are a Fake women, just like the Shills and white-washers of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7Ugokb4GAY8

      • 5
        1

        Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage shame on you.
        Rosie stood for what is right. She did the right thing.
        We need more people like Rosie, not stooges like you 3.

        What did you 3 did for this case other than writing this article.?

    • 13
      3

      I find this a very unfair assault on Mrs. Senanayake who has always been seen to be to only female parliamentarian who would take up issues against women. Her grasp of the situation seems very comprehensive to me.

      The fact that the authors sit back and belittle everything seems to be the very much like the NGO’s who churn out report after report to justify their salaries and the substantial grants from various countries. However, when it comes to any kind of action they are nowhere to be found.

      Her attempts at bringing attention to the matter and the show some pathos towards Vidya’s issue is categorized as self serving and her attempt to make people aware through print is made to feel futile. If I remember right, with regard to comments made by Chandrika by SB, she held a press conference and condemned SB vile utterances though I did not see any other parliamentarian take up the issues with seriousness.

      I am appalled at the sexist heading and the closing remarks that refer to her beauty. Rosy in my opinion and that of the voter has through her achievements transcended beyond superficial looks to become a serious person who seems to be passionate about issues.

    • 0
      0

      Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage –

      RE: Dear Rosy, Is Beauty Only Skin-Deep?

      BVisakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage , What are you?

      1. Shills and White-washers of Mohinda Rajapaksa and his cronies?

      2. A bunch of ugly women who cannot match the beauty and intelligence of Rosy Senanayaka?

      3. Cannot match the guts of Mrs. Rosy Senanayake in standing up to injustice?

      4. During the 10 years of Mahinda RAjapaksa rule, Rapes went through the roof and you were silent.

      Rosy Senanayake protest in Los Angeles to release Sarath Fonseka

      Uploaded on Oct 23, 2010
      Rosy Senanayake protest in Los Angeles to release Sarath Fonseka, Oct 22nd, 201

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA4UsO6t0K4

  • 19
    4

    How brave and courageous to pontificate from the balconies and verandahs of the talking class. Not excusing Rosie Senanayake’s political and tactical calculations in any way. In her defense – She has to pick her battles because there are not too many with her intellect in the political class of today. To confront Mervyn or SB is to invite their insults and become a public spectacle unnecessarily. The authors may disagree and that is their right.

    Free speech is a right that must be protected for the weak and defenseless by the mighty and powerful. It is not a cliche to be waved about, to hoodwink the clueless.

  • 5
    6

    It is a well documented fact that young children of low income families where the mother has gone overseas for employment are often subject to incest, abuse and rape .Most of these cases go unreported . What action has the minister taken in this regard ? No plan , no policy , only pontification .

    • 5
      2

      Dr.Goebels,

      Glad to know that there is atleast one person who thinks about this issue. I have been literally screaming on this forum trying to make people think about this matter. A significant segment of the younger generation is going to have persons with distorted values of family, life, love.

      Unless some measure is taken to prevent this happening, I cannot think that Rosy’s ministry is doing justice to the post given.

    • 5
      1

      Less known fact is that greater percentage of kids also get abused and raped and forced into incest when father is out of the picture. Some mothers even sell their kids to strangers. This is hugely under reported as well.

  • 15
    0

    Did anyone notice how vijekala became absolutely terrified when asked to critize LTTE ? – became so terrified she started stuttering – has anyone studied the psyche of these people who lived under terror for 30 years. it will take 100 years to recover from this I think.. its sad.

    • 3
      4

      Ms. Vijayakala was firm in her assertion that women and young girls were safe during LTTE rule.What she meant was there was no sexual harrassment by LTTE cadres.The anchor was trying to emphasise that there was forcible conscription of young – both girls and boys.Sexual harassment and conscription are two different matters.Vijayakala was also hampered by not being fluent in Sinhala.

      • 2
        0

        it is proven fact that young girls were Not safe under LTTE. even praba’s wife was abducted – marrying ur prisoner does not make it right as obviously prisoner wld not be in a position to make a decision on her own… perhaps like vijekala u too are too terrified to admit this to yrself. I hope time will heal these wounds

      • 1
        0

        Yes you are right.I was impressed by her bravery.Some one could have helped her with language .She was determined and strong which is great . We need more women leaders like her from Tamil community .I believe this is an unfair accusation of Rosy .She was doing what she can. After all some one has taken an initiative.These three ladies have highlighted some good points .but they have to be realistic also.

    • 5
      0

      Double standards

      “Did anyone notice how vijekala became absolutely terrified when asked to critize LTTE ? – became so terrified she started stuttering – has anyone studied the psyche of these people who lived under terror for 30 years. it will take 100 years to recover from this I think.. its sad.”

      Absolutely.

      Even though VP and the Other Mootals are not dead, still many LTTE Mootals lurking around. That is why.

      You are correct. Need to wait a generation or two until the last of LTTE Mootas die due to old age. This is going to be a slow process.

  • 8
    2

    Good advice that should be taken seriously!

    Incidentally, has anything at all been done about that disgraceful display of gutter-mouthing by SB Dissanayake where said he hoped that Chandrika would be stripped, assaulted and chased along the road? If not, it only goes to expose the superficiality of our parliamentarians and their total disregard for such actions.

    Wonder where Rosy was during all this???

    • 11
      1

      Exactly what I wanted to ask. Rosy said nothing. Especially at a time when she was doing the rounds campaigning for votes. Hirunika isn’t the only one who spoke out about this. My blood boiled when Susanthinka of all people, who was openly insulted by this uncouth SB was campaigning without uttering a word.

      Whether you like it or not CBK did yeoman service to the nation and she is an ex-president. SB is nothing and has done nothing positive for this nation. Why did not the others demand a public apology?

      • 3
        0

        My above response was for Jango.

        Correction: Hirunika was the only one I think who spoke out about the nasty comment from ugly faced SB.

  • 4
    0

    To understand the depth of gender based violence and disrepct as you mentioned in your article one has to be involved in the program for many years and also have total commitment to the cause. Psychology,poverty,Abuse,human rights and law are subjects that one must have deep knowledge and humanitarian work field work are areas one has to be involved in before taking on a responsible task . This message is to all appointed to responsible public platforms and decision making project’s,specialy when it is state matters. Harness the social service volunteers and other competant persons with a wide research knowledge background to meet up and see for ones self what one can learn from them.Team work is necessary and not political stooges.People,people out there in the open around the Nation. Good luck and go forward.

  • 6
    0

    “It was sad that you attempted to gain political mileage on the body of Vidya. This clearly portrays a lack of sensitivity and commitment.”

    She is not the only one as we all know. Many politicians from different parties have tried to receive political mileage from this sad case. Promises have been made, hartals arranged and pictures taken but will there be any change for the better in the future? I doubt it.

    Unfortunately this will happen again. Somewhere in SL. Then the politicians will promise change again.

    In addition to the police and courts especially the parents, schools and civil society should act.

    Didn’t any of the 9 guys who are accused of the rape and killing have parents and grandparents asking questions about the way they lived? This kind of young guys very rarely live alone. What happened with the poor girl was only the climax of years of misbehavior in a small isolated society where adults must have seen what was going on.

    • 8
      0

      Monsters with many different predilections exist within the war-ravaged North-East and the the rest of Sri Lanka where the revaberations of the war was felt. A country at war within itself creates these monsters who feed on society from within and the margins. They thrive in chaos and create further chaos to continue thriving. These are not civilised beings. They have lost the veneer of civilisation and reverted to being what we call the ‘Naked Ape’ . They are predators. Their minds are warped and have no knowledge or respect for civilised norms. They are badly raised, in mostly families that have lost such values. They also quickly become thieves, murderers, alcoholics, drug addicts/pedlars, prostitutes, rapists, pornographists. In most instances, they do not know there are alternatives in life, They are/were brutalised and enjoy perpetrating brutality. It pays for them to be such. They are feared and command what they perceive as respect that flows from this fear. They have also powerful political patrons who use their services, in many instances. Their numbers multiply in a society with endemic poverty that is the burden of large numbers and where there is no concern for their problems, by way of social support, education and stringent law enforcement. This is where the previous government fared the worst in the past six years.

      Rosy Senanayake cannot do anything about this as an individual. No one can. The whole country and particularly the north and east should be mobilised by the State to deal with this situation on a war footing. The monsters must be behind bars and subject to intense rehabilitation. Those cannot be corrected should be permanently behind bars. Youngsters should be taught that becoming monsters would not be rewarding and if they do, stringent punishment awaits them. Parents should bring up their children better and society should prevent the off-home influences corrupting them. The menace of alcoholism, drug addiction and pornography should be eradicated at any cost. The politicians should also be a different breed from what they are now.

      No one can be truly free without self imposed social and behavioural constraints. There are do’s and dont’s that should govern every individual in a society. We are not saints. We have the animal within us and all around us. We cannot enjoy a donkey’s freedom in life. It has to be a freedom to be civilised, within restraints dictated by our very nature and impulses as a member of the animal kingdom. Let us not discard our veneer of civilisation in the name of so-called freedom for an indidual or the sexes -both male and female. Sexual differences are natural, but they do not negate the equality of the sexes as humans. The sex differences exist for procreation and what it takes to nurture the next generation. Procreation follows a mutual attraction between the sexes and the pleasures and pains associated with it. It is natural and is the essence of life. Let us teach our children to understand this beautiful process and its importance. However, let us not elevate the sexual act to a level that does not exist even among animals, which are supposed to be lower than us on an evolutionary scale. I sometimes wonder whether our so-called evolutionary superiority is a fact or a myth we have created ourselves!

      It is a difficult road and we have to traverse it, regardless of the cost, effort, discipline and restraints needed.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 4
        0

        Dr Rajasingham Narendran,

        Good to see you back!

        “Rosy Senanayake cannot do anything about this as an individual. No one can.”

        I agree.

        “The whole country and particularly the north and east should be mobilised by the State to deal with this situation on a war footing.”

        In the Tamil areas of North and East the State is not a popular actor regardless the fact that most government servants (except policemen and women) are Tamils.

        I have seen calls for more Tamil police but at the same Northern youngsters don’t apply. This week the application dead line was extended by the police but I don’t believe many Tamils from Jaffna want to join the police. Maybe they would join a provincial police force.

        However the police cannot be everywhere all the time. It is the duty of the parents, teachers, neighbors etc to teach children about acceptable behavior, keep an eye on them and even protect them.

        “The politicians should also be a different breed from what they are now.”

        In SL the accused often run to politicians for protection. This happens never in Singapore and other countries with law and order. Why do voters and politicians allow this? If an accused or his/her relatives approach a politician for help they should be sent away by the politician.

        Vidya apparently had no father. I haven’t found good background information on the accused. Do they have parents, did they go to school, how old are they,any known profession, any ex-combatants among them? I would like to know what made them do what they did.

        • 2
          0

          Dear Heretic,

          The Tamils in the hill country share joining the police and the STF in significant numbers. Tamils from the north and east, who were displaced by the war and grew up opinion the South are also joining the police. These are the Tamil men and woman who are serving in the police stations in the north and east.

          The Tamils particularly in the north are not joining the police, presumably for the following reasons:

          1. Poor pay
          2. The severe physical training ,the demands, risks and the rigours the job entails.
          3. The likelihood of being transferred frequently and very likely to areas outside the north.
          4. Societal lack of respect for the police as it is constituted, composed and functions now. There is more fear and respect for the army , than the police !
          5. The criminalisation of society in general that permits the police to be perceived as enemies. There is more

          The big questions is why the men and women who are reluctant to join the police, apply in droves, pay bribes and seek political influence,to join other areas of government service? I think this is at least partly due to the fact that these jobs are less demanding and permit laziness and sloth, while commanding greater respect from society, The other public servants in Jaffna have also evolved a unique culture during the war years to work less, be more corrupt, survive while doing the least and Lord it over the poor masses. I witnessed this soon after the war, when the war- affected were treated with scant respect and consideration by these Tamil government servants. The Jaffna Tamil teachers serving in the Vanni, have scant commitment to their students or their profession.

          It is a complex problem that has evolved over the long war years. I do not think a provincial police service will make a difference in effective policing and attracting quality persons to the police service in the north and east.

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

          • 0
            0

            Corrections:

            1st para: — hill country are—

            — grew up in the South—

            Apologies.

            Dr,RN

  • 6
    3

    I think Upul’s intellect needs to be questioned if he thinks that Rosie has any real intellect except facts she has picked from here and there and memorised. if you have a conversation with her you will soon realise

  • 11
    4

    Visakha Tillekeratne, Janakie Abeywardane and Prema Gamage –

    You all are talking rubbish.

  • 3
    3

    Funny, that Rosie should be thus targeted :

    As Bimal Ratnayake clearly explained, the fundamental cause of such a happening is the unequal power relations between men and women.

    So, lets change the mindset – STOP THE BASHING of Women, ROSIE – included.

    It seems like ONLY ” SATURNIA JAYAMAHA ” has used these facilities of this forum in a positive way.

    It will be interesting to see – how much more BASHING – will follow this reply.

  • 5
    1

    Ahfzll,

    Politicians should be ready to be bashed, women or otherwise.

  • 6
    1

    To be fair to Rosy Senanayaka, she is the one who talks about women’s rights most of the time in the parliament and elsewhere. I closely follow when women parliamentary members speak on issues related to gender-based violence. I know for sure that Rosy spoke out on all three of these incidents–Mervin Silva’s sexual remarks about Upeksha Swarnamalim, Welgama’s sexual remarks on her apperence, and S.B Dissanayake’s remarks on Chandrika Bandaranayaka. She was the first to convene a press conference against this incident. Please see you tube links to all these appearances by Rosy against 3 incidents listed.I did not see Satana, so I cannot comment on it without watching it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddYswipzzHc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6QdTeEGNUc
    http://www.adaderana.lk/news/29060/sb-should-apologize-from-all-sri-lankan-women-rosy-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsZCAQQIVFQ

    • 3
      2

      I understand you are a blind follower of Rosy and since you have not watched Satana i think you do not qualify to comment. The writers are responding to the way Rosy’s views and the manner she addressed the questions raised by satana media group. By not engaging in a constructive critical dialogue and blindly worshiping these so called elite beauty conscious women politician you are further contributing to destroy her.

      Instead of replying to the specific questions which was about the root causes of the rape and murder she made a political presentation .

      You may be an active UNP supporter and have hopes to contest from the UNP ticket in the future. I understand that you are based abroad and only visit Sri Lanka occasionally when there is an opportunity show your visibility.

      • 6
        0

        Babsy,

        Shamila Daluwatte is an attorney and is one person who made waves regarding the recent violent rape incident. In fact even I had mentioned that Rosy and other women who play key role in society do not show solidarity when necessary. But I had been wrong . Links provided by Shamila proves that.

        More and more women should talk about it much louder.

      • 0
        0

        Your ignorance and the firm belief in hearsay is very obvious. I know for a fact that Rosy Senanayake lives very much in Sri Lanka with her family though she is often the chosen candidate to represent Sri Lankan at overseas events.

  • 0
    1

    And Razeena, after all the politicians have been bashed, what next? You think rapes will disappear? You think the housemaids from the Middle East will return to paradise?

    Just because CT affords a platform to comment, should not motivate you or anyone else to waste words.

    • 5
      0

      Where is the voice for the housemaids? Why no one cares about the sufferings they undergo? The ladies who have paid so much attention to “Rosy has done nothing campaign”, have they done anything about the housemaids? Sri Lankan massage girls being exported to Eastern Europe by Siddhalepa group?

      Sri Lanka? Nice country. Good housemaids. Not like the Filipinos?

      Yeah right, we produce good housemaids. If Filipino housemaids are ill-treated the employer gets penalized. There is a safe-guarding mechanism for them. For Sri Lankans, nothing. The agent will help the employer to escape even if the maid dies and sent home in a coffin.

  • 0
    1

    Change the MINDSET people !

    The 3 ladies who wrote highlighted Rosie’s dilemma – Please advice Rosie on how she should get about finding solutions to the problems that have been encountered by her – That would be a positive way to get ROSIE to ACT.

    Most of the comments seem to have lost the plot – Rosie is in parliament and she has the capacity to make a positive change – so people, highlight the problems in these forums and give advice on how to overcome the problems.

    Just making comments for the sake of making a comment – helps nobody – but the Rogue President and his band of merry thieves.

    When you read an article in CT – suggest you comment ONLY if you can assist with solutions – STOP BASHING THE MESSENGER and the MESSAGE.

    BE A PART OF THE CHANGE for ” GOOD GOVERNANCE “

  • 2
    1

    I think Ahfzll has missed the bus and not read the letter written by the 3 ladies properly. There are very practical solutions. I would like to ask both Rosie and Chandrani, what have you done of lasting value over the 100 days and beyond? We heard about a pregnancy handout. But that is a superficial measure to reduce malnutrition. What are the lasting system changes you have made?

    • 1
      0

      Razeena, you of all people should know that a woman takes more than 100 days even to make a baby, the major part of the work having been carried out by a man.

      How can you spout this rubbish, about Rosie’s intellect (in another comment), especially of such a sweet intelligent patient lady, when you yourself are not too smart (see para above)?

  • 1
    0

    The programme aired views that are sadly well known to us after the many years experience of the growing evil of rape. It was also very heartening to read the many excellent comments that have been triggered by the ‘open letter to Rosy’.

    So here we are in the time of good governance, six years into the era of peace. The need of this time is for law and order, maintained by a strong police force. Instead we have a bloated armed force that has been degraded and stripped of its heroic dignity by having to resort to growing and selling produce, running ‘tourist’ ventures, and sweeping parks. By contrast, our police force has to operate understaffed, under-qualified and insufficiently trained. Leaders in the force still remain in hock to political masters. Often investigation is not undertaken seriously unless a politician cracks the whip. With this backdrop, criminals continue to operate with impunity (many shielded by politicians). Isn’t it about time we got our priorities right and reversed the strengths of the forces; halve the armed services, and doubled the police force (replacing the present misfits with better qualified, better motivated and better trained officers).

    I would like to salute the brave Mrs Maheswaran who made a very important plea asking for some dignity for the victim, and the families involved in such harrowing circumstances. Must the victim be named at this time? For who’s benefit? What will publishing a photograph of the victim at this time achieve? Are we so impatient that we have to know every sordid detail of what is the most personal of crimes. This brings back bad memories of past violent times when we would show graphic images of violence where victims (or their body parts) could be identified in gory detail, before next of kin, family, and others nearest could be informed. Much as I will be the first to defend a free press, I despair of those of the tribe who sadly lack basic human decency in their pursuit of shock and awe.

    When will the government of the day (especially the fathers, sons and brothers) stand shoulder to shoulder and vow that this evil pestilence will be a thing of the past?

  • 1
    0

    I have been observing this communication. Please excuse my ignorance. I would like to ask is there any women’s movement in Sri Lanka like the Phillipines and Latin American countries? I only see some elite activists raising there voices from time to time. These are from a few NGOs. I think these ladies are misleading Ms Rosy by getting close and giving wrong guidance.

  • 0
    1

    No doubt that Shamila means well. But a bit of street activism will not change structural issues.

    • 1
      0

      Shamila has shown courage and good sense. What is being excreted by you is pompous keyboard activism. That spoils the watalappan.

    • 3
      0

      Razeena,

      What Shamila Daluwatte has done is greatly commendable. Just one woman cannot change the whole scenario. There were negative comments when some young ladies wrote on the topic of rape, almost like saying “what the hell do you know?”. Every effort made should be encouraged. The problem has to tackled from different angles at different levels.

      The empath Rosy showed towards the Vidya incident may not mean much to some, but would have been comforting for the family and the community. But I did not feel that her effort was appreciated by many. I could be wrong. Then again, the panel of ladies writing this article, have they done anything towards the Vidya incident? Just asking.

      Have you done anything towards that incident?

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