Domestic Violence: The Role Of Miss Sri Lanka, Sabrina Herft And SB Dissanayake’s Son
In the year 2009 alone, the Sri Lanka Police recorded 94,000 incidents of Domestic Violence. 35 NGOs too received 12,000 complaints. If half of these 12,000 overlapped with the 94,000 recorded by Police, this would amount to 100,000 cases. This is a very high number yet on the increase according to the Police. Sri Lanka is one of the countries with the highest incidents of Domestic Violence as Regional Records show.
On 9th August in 2005, the Sri Lankan parliament unanimously passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA).
The Act does not create a new offence of ‘domestic violence’ but instead defines domestic violence, firstly, as acts of physical violence, which constitute only those offences already recognized under Chapter XVI of the Penal Code. Secondly it recognizes emotional abuse - defined as a pattern of cruel, inhuman, degrading or humiliating conduct of a serious nature directed towards an aggrieved person. The PDVA allows ‘any person’ who suffers or is likely to suffer such violence to seek a protection from a Magistrate’s Court, which is empowered to summarily issue an Interim Protection Order valid for 14 days.
A Nation in Denial
Despite this epidemic of Domestic Violence as well as other forms of violence against women, the country is in denial that such a problem exists. Domestic Violence is trivialized with the popular saying that “marital disputes only last until the rice is cooked”. This is a rank cultural myth. Women and children embroiled in DV have long lasting trauma and a difficulty to remain in relationships in the future. His Excellency the President is quoted as saying that he would like to study if the DV act has increased the number of divorces. This in fact shows a great degree of ignorance on the part of the highest in the land as to what DV really means.
Beauty Pageants and advocating against domestic violence
At the Miss Universe 2012 pageant which will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, imagine this question,
“Miss Herft, do you condone Domestic Violence?” What would Sabrina say?
Miss Universe 2012 On Danu’s Hot Sri Lanka Column Interview on the 21st of November 2012, our Sabrina talks about 29 things people do not know about her.
The 28th is: Once my reign has come to its inevitable end I wish to leave behind a legacy, a legacy and a footpath for our Sri Lankan women to travel on. Will this footpath be one of saying yes to Domestic Violence?
The writer says this in view of the 30th fact that people do not know about and what Sabrina must guard against – spending her life with a wife beater.
Her fiancé, Narada Dissanayake, is none other than Minister SB Dissanayake’s son, who is well known for his violent ways and has now gone through a divorce from his first wife. His ex –wife has taken both violent physical abuse and severe emotional abuse and wanted a way out from her marriage. He has also been a part of many a brawl in public places especially at casinos and night clubs. Due to his reckless behavior fatal road accidents too had taken place.
His family has a history of harassing women, particularly Minister S. B. Dissanayake, who ruined the sports career of well known athlete of international repute, sprint queen Susanthika Jayasinghe by sexually harassing her when he was the Minister of Sports during Chandrika Kumaranatunge’s time.
Will Sabrina be subjected to the same treatment as Narada’s first wife? Once a wife beater always a wife beater and difficult to reform is what Global evidence shows.
Future Action that Sabrina needs to take:
Some of the questions and hard talk for Sabrina with Narada would be around the facts mentioned below: Statistically, the odds of an abuser changing are low. However, there are key indicators Sabrina can watch for in a Narada if he is taking an honest interest in changing his abusive behavior:
1) Beaters acknowledge that they are abusive, and that it is their responsibility, and not the fault of anyone else that they are they way they are.
2) They admit that they WANT to change, and that they know the process of change is very difficult
3) They undergo a violence/abuse assessment, delivered by a professional who focuses on these things. The abuser is willing and wanting to follow the recommendations of the assessment.
4) They voluntarily enter programs specifically oriented around addressing abusive and/or violent behaviors. These group programs generally are extensive, and may run from a minimum of 16 weeks to 52 weeks in length. Jointly, they should also attend individual counseling that is specific to the challenges they have in addressing their behavior and emotional challenges.
5) The process for change is hard, and can be long. How long depends on the individual, their readiness for change, and ability to integrate the change.
6) The individual will tend to this change in an ongoing process which may be lifelong.
The process for changing abusive tendencies is intense, very difficult (because it is rooted in learned behaviors that likely spanned significant portions of their childhood), and due to the extraordinarily low level of community support due to the morally reprehensible nature of this behavior, the individual will find the path to rehabilitation difficult to maintain despite their initial best interests and convictions.
If the individual is willingly able to endure this path to change, they can and will change.
Unless they have gone through a lot of therapy, enough to cause a total sea change, then yes, I am afraid they will always abuse the next partner.
There is one exception: those people who vacillate between a need to abuse and a need to be abused. For them it is just as likely they will choose a partner who abuses them, not least to expiate the abuse they gave their last partner, and justify the abuse they will give the next.
Abusers CAN change, and lead normal lives, but that takes a lot of work.
Most abusers are serial offenders, abusing one partner after the other.