Managing sexual tensions is emerging as a key issue in Sri Lanka.
The statistics on sex related crime and behaviour is clearly signalling an alarming trend that needs to be addressed.
The Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena reveled that approximately 65 per cent of all court cases in the country had to do with rape, child abuse and violence against women.
According to crime statistics of the Police five women are raped every day. However, it is estimated that the real number including unreported cases is thrice this amount, which means 15 women are being raped daily. In other words a woman is raped in the country every one and half hour.
The statistics point out that the situation has been escalating since 1990. There were 665 rape incidents reported in 1990 and by November 2011 this figure had reached 1636.
The police say most of the victims were under the age of 16.
At least three children are raped in Sri Lanka each day and most of them live in deprived estate sector or the dry zone.
Sex on the Net
Sri Lanka has been keen to sanitise the internet by blocking porn web sites and a number of porn websites have been banned .However the internet adult pages are generously populate with pornography produced in Sri lanka. It is evident that a unregulated pornography industry is existence.
The Sri Lankan Police selectively published the photographs of women in national media to name shame and punish women who take part in phonographic production, but little is known of any follow up action.
Although the telecommunication regulators have been blocking out photography the internet users have not given up. According to the Google Trends statistics, Sri Lanka tops the list to have searched for the word “sex”.
Sexual violence against foreigners is another trend that calls for attention. Last year the Uk warned that “there have been an increasing number of reports of sexual offences including on minors. When travelling around Sri Lanka, you should make arrangements through reputable travel companies and exercise appropriate caution. Women should take particular care when travelling alone, or in small groups, and carry personal alarms”
The police has been repeatedly raiding brothels in a bid to demonstrate that Sri Lanka is no place for illicit sex but this approach is very unlikely to address the problem of sexual violence against women and children. In fact some argue that rounding up sex workers could only worsen the problem as it only criminalises a form of consensual sex.
The media debate on how to manage sexual tensions has been sprayed with a array of suggestions ranging fro legalisation of prostitution, sex education and tougher sentencing but on the ground ,managing sexual tensions and safeguarding women and children from sexual violence still remains a issue that demands urgent attention.
Sri lanka was once known as the island of blood and soon it may be the land of the rapist if the trend of sexual violence continues.