Lawyer and human rights activist Aritha Wickramasinghe has called out the Education Ministry for promoting rape culture in a textbook for Ordinary Level Examination students.
Wickramasinghe pointed out that the content found in the Health and Physical Education textbook of Grade 11 students, promotes rape culture.
The content in the text book consists of victim blaming in the event of rape, while also describing rapists as “merely people with mental illness or very irresponsible”.
This text book further tells young girls that victims of rape are also responsible for being raped because of their irresponsible behaviour.
Human Rights activist Aritha Wickramasinghe pointed out the necessity to teach both female and male students of ‘consent’, boys to respect women, and ‘not to rape’.
He called on the Education Ministry to stop promoting rape culture, as “this is where it starts, this has to stop”.
Meanwhile, Programme and Legal Manager of Women In Need Mariam Wadood pointed out that while the updated syllabus covering important lessons of health and physical science is appreciated, it is vital to educate the youth on the factual nature of sex, pregnancy and rape.
“It is of paramount importance to teach students the importance of consent for sexual activity rather than focus on blaming the victim, and the social stigma surrounding rape; which have led to increased violence and discrimination against women and girls in Sri Lanka It is not only women who are subject to rape.Men and boys are also subject to rape. Therefore, rape has to be discussed in terms of all sexes, irrespective of pregnancies. These areas need to be revised without delay in order to open the minds of our youth, to create a society of men and women that mutually respect one another – a society free of violence, discrimination and stigma,” she explained.
Commenting on the matter, Child Rights Lawyer Milani Salpitikorala said the system and the nation through this incident should understand how critical it is to appoint people who are qualified in sectors of women and children’s rights to compile progressive and accurate information in any field not just education.
“They should also be open minded and focus on common social duty and responsibilities. This is one of many steps to move towards forward thinking,” she added. (NewsWire)