23 May, 2022


Seya’s Death: Who Is To Be Blamed ?

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass L. Usuf

Mass L. Usuf

It is an irony of sorts that a nation with deep buddistic roots which defacto had suspended the death sentence, is now clamouring for it. Some of the expressions of the masses aired over the national television channels demand the shooting of the accused in public at the Galle Face green. While others citing the law in the middle-eastern countries, vociferously advocate the beheading of such accused. The villagers want the accused for themselves to put him to death by torture. Who is this accused ? He is the child abuser who sexually molested and caused physical harm to Seya.

How many more angels are to be sacrificed before meaningful action is taken to address this growing social menace. The reality may be that incest, rape and paedophilia occur on a daily basis within the confines of the four walls. It is when an encounter ends with killing that we see a public revulsion. The Kotadeniyawa incident (12.09.2015) where a five year old became a victim of a maniacal sexual psychopath was the latest in a series of events.

State responsibility

The State has a duty to protect its citizens and especially those who are in the vulnerable category. Children do rightly and squarely fall into this classification. There is no doubt that the parents have a great responsibility in providing the environment of security for their offsprings. So does this duty devolve on the teachers at school where these innocent kids go to learn. In combination of these, there is the additional watchdog in the form of the society which also share the same responsibility of the State, the parents and the teachers.

The State’s legal machinery triggering into action is good but is not the solution. It would be like treating the symptom rather than the cause. The low number of prosecutions against the high number of violation, indicate the need to develop the jurisprudence in this area. Along with this, the State must also embark on a study to understand the several socio-cultural and psychological factors which directly or indirectly contribute to such psychopathic tendencies. While the arm of the law has to be strengthened to prevent, protect and safeguard the vulnerable, there is a compelling need for a holistic approach to this problem.

Sexual harassment

“Sexual harassment is a subtle rape…” opines Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington. Sexuality is a mental condition that emanates from a basic desire of being attracted to the opposite sex. This initial desire which is natural to the psyche of every human being is generally, an often occurring and passing phenomenon. Sexual harassment is considered to be the unwelcome sexual advances by words or action. The cause may be attraction or provocative dress or behaviour of the victim. The events of sexual harassment in the public transport is no secret besides this taking place in the public and workplaces. Giving a wider interpretation to the word bribe, the courts in The Republic of Sri Lanka v. Abdul Rashak Kuthubdeen (1998, 3 SLR 107), held that the soliciting of sexual favour to execute some official action was considered a bribe under the Bribery Act of 1980.

This initial trend has the propensity to turn dangerous because it gives way to the animalistic instinct of preying. Being a sexual predator can be tough. Preys though easy to find cannot be pounced upon due to lack of opportunistic circumstances. As an outlet for the accumulated desire, some are not economically capable to solicit the facility of the oldest profession. An easy target, an opportunistic moment, an innocent victim, a helpless person are all the indications that this stalking predator will be looking for. Like innocent Seya, you and I are also not aware that there is a stalker waiting to strike. The moment the defences are relaxed the predator pounces resulting in a horrendous saga.

The arrest and bringing to justice only helps to strike out one name in a list of sexual predators still continuing to stalk his victim. The State has to focus its attention to the 24/7 sexual stimulation that is out there. Like the old adage that there is no smoke without a fire, one of the significant reasons for abnormal sexual behaviour is the constant and consistent sexual stimulation of the human mind visually.

Sexual eroticism

Let us take the dresses that women wear. One wonders if most women are in fact wearing a dress at all. So hugged to the body are the cloths they wear that the entire curvature of the body is artistically depicted to the onlooker. The blouses some wear are deep cut such that the cleavage of the breast is clearly visible. The blouse is meant to cover the breasts of the woman but the fashion is to uncover as much area of the breast. These woman are like semi-nude exhibits of a mobile nude exhibition inviting undue attention towards themselves.

Some daily doses of eroticism can be found in the Indian movies both hindi and tamil with their semi nude, titillating and sexually suggestive dance sequences. The TV soap operas of the formerly ‘Dynasty’ style, where infidelity is openly spoken and discussed about are no exceptions. Consequently, desensitizing the dignity of fidelity. The refrain of a majority of songs, it seems should necessarily have the cry of ‘adaraye’ for it to be complete. Watch a movie especially the tamil and hindi movies, the theme generally is violence, love, rape, sexual harrassment and such ‘masalas’. What is the ethical and moral message that is being transmitted to the growing up kids. As for adults, are not they on an overdose of erotics.

Add to this ‘masala’, pornography and other sexually explicit contents that is easily accessible via the net. The availability of child pornography. The ‘adults only’ movies on the silver screen and in other formats that are relished by many.

Jane D. Brown writing to the Journal of Sex Research on ‘Mass media influences on sexuality’, quotes, “Exposure to stereotypical images of gender and sexuality in music videos has been found to increase older adolescents’ acceptance of non-marital sexual behavior and interpersonal violence (Greeson & Williams, 1986; Kalof, 1999)”. Another research on undergraduates concludes, “uncontrolled exposure to mass media and Internet could negatively influence the sexual patterns and behavior of youths.” (Effect of mass media and Internet on sexual behavior of undergraduates, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health). Studies in schizophrenic psychosis show that the inhibition placed on the ability to emotionally respond to these sex stimulants, results in brooding quietness and ‘imaginativeness’. The subject lives in a world of fantasy.

These are the elements of destruction of society in the name of art, talent and modernity. Destruction is courted in many ways one of which is found in the way Seya Sadewmi, the little angel, paid the ultimate price. Our negligence, as adults is the cause of that child’s death.


Among the other possible solutions, the State should have strict censorship of the content in the TV channels, movies, serials and advertisements. Regulate the internet restricting access to sexually explicit materials. Educate the masses of the potential dangers of being exposed to the freely available erotics. The private media must act proactively in stemming the flow of sexual stimulants through their channels. As part of their social responsibility the media must allocate quality time to discuss these social evils. The State should also develop a mechanism to subject the accused to a mental health facility for diagnosis and treatment where relevant.

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Latest comments

  • 15

    Oh dear… another twisted visionaly who believes that any case of rape must surely be the fault of the victim !

    • 1

      [Edited out] Please write instead of posting links – CT

  • 7

    It’s the fake and hopelessly Victorian morality of the type the writer (and our greater society) encourages and enforces (or tries to), that leads to sexual suppression in our society

    This has no other result execept the expression of those frustrations in sometimes violent ways

    This sad incident, the horrid one at the Green Cabin, the “Eve Teasing” phenomenon in India and now here.. are all symptoms that our societies endless conflict between appetite social constraints needs to change

    Better education than oppression, I say ! And no need to bring unnecessary religion into it, as the writer is obliquely trying to do.

  • 3

    The ruling regimes of the past and present are solely responsible for all the escalating crimes. Forces are allowed to do criminal things, murder, rape, abduction with impunity,Especially when it comes to Tamils, there is no justice and protection for the citizen or punishments to criminals are not meted out in Lanka for a very long time. The Lankan society had no choice but just got used to crimes against humanity. Politicians just call themselves Buddhists and religious but do everything against human and humanity.
    The culture of rape, incest, murder and everything got out of hand by the very governments who are supposed to protect the public and punish the criminals.
    The successive governments used criminals and encouraged crimes against minorities, political opponents, human right activists and developed a culture of impunity. Now we are reaping the benefits without any proper rule of law. All the crimes against minorities were ignored and now it has spread to the entire nation.

    Even now, the Government and all the politicians are only trying to help save all the war criminals and refuse to give any punishment. How can they expect rule of law to prevail or a decent society to grow with civility ?

    99% of the majority community is up against punishment to the war criminals.
    To them they are all war victorious heroes. The more crimes they commit against citizen the more promotions these culprits receive from the governments. Even the new government promoted a number of criminals to higher positions. Why now cry fowl about criminal acts ? In fact they are encouraged to do more crimes against minorities and humanity.

    They all want to do their own internal inquiries, ‘shape’ the matters and hush up all the crimes without punishing anyone. This is how we are taking the country down, encouraging crimes and betraying the people.

    Who is to be blamed ? All the governments and governance ofcourse are to be blamed.

  • 16

    This author is lost when he says, “Let us take the dresses that women wear. One wonders if most women are in fact wearing a dress at all ” That is the most ridiculous to say thing especially considering how the women and girls dress in Sri Lanka. Making a woman’s choice of clothing a factor in rape assumes men have no self-control at all. This statement blames women and condemns men at the same time. Besides this article started off about the rape and murder of a little girl who was wearing the sort of clothes little girls wear, not in the least provocative.

    from Mary

  • 6


    If a man sees a naked woman it is his right to rape?

    Therefore Sri Lankan men are uncivilized and unable to control themselves?

    This is my summary of the above article.

    For gods sake can some sane sri lankan man tell this writer that we do not live in a prudish country. We celebrate the female form. The writer should climb sigiriya.It might be educational!oh wait pls rememeber they tease only…

  • 0

    The writer should try being a woman wearing jeans and or anything deemed “decent ” for that matter and going in a local bus.. 99% of women who use Sri Lankan public transport have been subjected to enough and more abuse by perverts. Similarly pedophile have no control and our weak laws on repucussions only support them (a prime example would be kesara vs the green cabin employees case where he perpetrators are walking Scott free!!!!)

    Also, being a “Buddhist nation” has no relevance in the law of the land. I am sure kings those days in Buddhas time had harsher punishments for wrong doers … Buddhism is for the individual not to turn a whole system into a religious one.

  • 1

    This guy is one in a long line of men who blame women for being raped by women. If you want to stop rape in our society. Tell, men to stop raping women. However, women may chose to dress, it never should be an excuse for men to claim women’s bodies as part of men’s domain. I am really sick of this shit. Colombo Telegraph ! we are really disappointed with this article.

  • 2

    Who is to be blamed?

    Why God, of course, for creating sexuality.

  • 1

    There he goes again! So buddy as you say “It is an irony of sorts that a nation with deep buddistic roots which defacto had suspended the death sentence, is now clamouring for” etc., etc.,

    Arab men sexually repressed, demented are raping and trading girls as young as 12 years old in name of their vibrant, non violent brand of Jihadi Islam. Boko Haram are holding girls marrying them off, selling them as sex slaves and raping them and killing their families. So in your infinite wisdom Sir and LOGIC because you speak such educated logic, why are those savages doing it? It is not just one or two rapes. They are capturing and raping women every day in Syria, Iraq, and in Boko Haram run muslim areas of Nigeria. In Afghanistan they savagely murder or stone women to death.

    We do not need mob violence. We need justice to be done through rule of law and to see no one escapes the rule of law; that happens only in Christian western nations and nations like Japan where rape also happens or in civilized nations like India. ISIS things it is funny to rape and enslave girls. Taleban thinks it is cool to force women to leave school after 4th grade and be baby machines.

    Yeah, your rubbish shows you insanity. Admit it and then say yeah I feel my way is superior and that is why I sit in judgement of you all.
    Answer this if Islamic values are superior why are they raping women?

    In Israel why are women so safe and they have women in the army in Israel army. Israel does not engage in wholesale rape when they invade Gaza no? They are Jews no? What Aney?

  • 1

    There is no sexual stimulation and no women dress obscenely in Syria and Iraq and Nigeria. A lot of those girls are Muslim and are raped by Boko Haram. In Syria the same; Oh wait wait the irrational illogical Sri Lankan worship Arabs first before looking at amazing peaceful nations of Asia like Indonesia or Malayasia. Their outlook is linked ot Arabs with whom they have zero DNA or genetic links or even linguistic links. They are Tamil speaking Indian Dravidian Muslims like Sinhalese are Dravidian too.

    Why is ISIL, Boko Haram raping and killing hundreds of decently clad women of conservative Islamic values wearing the Hijab but might be Shia or sadly may be conservatively dressed but happened to be Kurdish or Yazidi.

  • 0

    If a man cannot control himself because he sees a woman’s face or leg I think the fault is mans not womans. Women should be able to wear according to their preference

  • 0

    Seyas horrific killing….with due respects to all comments
    Made in this coloumn. Whatever country or community
    Maybe.whatever decision on capital punishment of the past
    Be. The time has come to impose the capital punishment
    As to be ‘ Hung till dead’ has come for proved murders,
    rapists, drugs and narcotic poscession and dealers, child killers,
    And child sexual offenders and killers. If we are in the shoes of the
    Kith and kin of SEYA…….we will feel it . So finally the
    country felt it. So it should be implemented . Such is the success
    Of the Shariah laws in the Gulf states.

  • 0

    Until culprits are punished what they deserve,
    Until corrupted politicians, bribed judicial systems, uneducated public change their attitudes to stand only for justice against injustice many lives will continue to be murdered.
    I appreciate Mass Usuf for his courage to write this mater piece.

  • 0

    Those ladies speak freedom of dress should feel shame of what they say. They dress sexy way for their desire is false argument, it is nothing but to attract the men. So they become subjects to sexual harassment. On the other hand ladies are utilised as a merchandise or commodity stuff for marketing and sales promotion by exposing their sexual figures. Thus the women’s state is degraded. If the woman could maintain modesty they can avoid family problem, harassment and create a peaceful environment in the society.

  • 0

    Sadly, the objectivity is lost in the criticism of the article. Simply the female seated in her own nature cannot understand the affinities of the male mind in general… even the simple ant or community of Bees have varied forms of treatments to their ways of life to overcome such social problems. Rules pertaining to these are embedded in their constitution.. however mankind having given the free will must necessarily look out to his environment to search for solutions for its problems… after all the universe is built in extreme intelligence… there is no question about it..

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