கவனிக்க: இந்த மின்னூலைத் தனிப்பட்ட வாசிப்பு, உசாத்துணைத் தேவைகளுக்கு மட்டுமே பயன்படுத்தலாம். வேறு பயன்பாடுகளுக்கு ஆசிரியரின்/பதிப்புரிமையாளரின் அனுமதி பெறப்பட வேண்டும்.
இது கூகிள் எழுத்துணரியால் தானியக்கமாக உருவாக்கப்பட்ட கோப்பு. இந்த மின்னூல் மெய்ப்புப் பார்க்கப்படவில்லை.
இந்தப் படைப்பின் நூலகப் பக்கத்தினை பார்வையிட பின்வரும் இணைப்புக்குச் செல்லவும்: ICES Working Papers 2012.05
Working Paper No.: 01 May 2012
ES WORKING PAPER SERIES
y Until the Rice is Cooked? The Domestic Violence Act, Familial Ideology and Cultural Narratives in Sri Lanka
ICES Working Paper Series: 1
Only Until th
The Domestic Viole
and Cultural Na
International Ce M
e Rice is Cooked?
ce Act, Familial Ideology hrratives in Sri Lanka
nter for Ethnic Studies ay 2012
(C) 2012 International Centre for Ethnic S 2, Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8
E-mail: admin(a)ices.lk URL: http://ices.lk/
Printed with VOC free, non toxic vegetal on PEFC certified paper from well-mana Printed by Karunaratne & Sons (Pvt) Ltd
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This paper greatly benefited from conversations and Dhara Wijyayatilake, particularly on the histor incisive comments on a draft of this paper, whic Maithree Wickramasinghe for her careful review c
I would like to thank Siddharthan Maunaguru, Sivagurunathan for comments on different versio Piyadasa for research assistance. My thanks also to for his assistance in finding research material.
Yasmin Tambiah's work on legal amendments it surrounding these processes in Sri Lanka and Tri this paper.
This Working Paper is part of a research study the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES intervention services across Sri Lanka. Women I organisations and institutions addressing connecte peace building during the period 2008-2011, sup
with Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Kumudini Samuel, 7 of the PDVA. Prof Savitri Goonesekere also gave helped refine it. I am extremely grateful to Prof. f a near-final version of this paper.
Vijay Nagaraj, Sumith Leelarathne and Shyamala ns of this paper, and Harindrini Corea and Thiagi the staff at ICES and particularly Mr. Thambiraja
npacting gender and sexuality and the discourses nidad and Tobago, was the original inspiration for
on domestic violence in Sri Lanka conducted by ), which included a mapping of domestic violence Defining Peace (WDP), which assisted Sri Lankan 'd issues of gender-based violence and women and ported this study.
Chulani Kodikara May 2012
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of
Centre for Women's Research
Children and Women Bureau Desks
Domestic Violence Task Force
Demographic and Health Survey of the Departm
Government of Sri Lanka
International Centre for Ethnic Studies
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
Jathika Hela Urumaya
National Committee for Women
National Child Protection Authority
Non Governmental Organisation
Prevention of Domestic Violence Act No. 34 of 2
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Women in Need
Women and Media Collective
United National Party
United People's Freedom Alliance
Discrimination against Women
ent of Census and Statistics
Only Until the Rice is Cookec Familial Ideology and Cultural
In the 1990s, domestic violence represents acc the contested terrains of sex, love, violence, on one side, as it has urged social recognitic resources and institutions specifically addres nightmare, as it has absorbed grassroots str mass mediation, re-inscribing patterns of rz and discursive space in which emancipatory control; the legal, familial and social scientifi
Domestic violence discourse is a place of st (hooks 1989: 28). ... the discourse cont dominance in its most cherished location, th larger sphere of culture the pain experienced
to cross over from isolation to community (I
In August 2005, the Sri Lankan Parliament unanim Act No 34 (PDVA), marking the culmination of a women's NGOs in 1999. The unanimous vote, how by a number of Members of Parliament (MPs), ab origins antithetical to Sri Lankan culture and its ne; passed, fell short of the expectations of women's gender as a structure of power that distinguishes w from that of men and boys. It is nevertheless a sig familial violence, which, as this paper demonstrat
over the meaning of such violence as well as new
More than six years after the enactment of the PI ambivalent and contradictory. On the one hand, the g forums where the government's human rights recor for women's rights. On the other hand, questions 2 for it continue to be raised at the national level, Government. Drawing from the work of Foucault charts the official and unofficial discourses surrou the passage of the PDVA in Parliament, in order across these different discourses. Part 1 lays down th relevance of Foucault and discourse theory in particl
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
2 The Domestic Violence Act, Narratives in Sri Lanka
nvoluted, contradictory discourse thatincorporates law and truth. This discourse is a feminist victory, In of women's oppression and developed material sed to the problem. It is simultaneously a feminist Jiggles in the machinery of social engineering and Lce, class and gender domination. It is a political Ideals collide with repressive mechanisms of social c establishment (Ferraro 1996: 77).
ruggle, which shapes experiences and subjectivity ains contradictory impulses. It challenges male le home. It provides a language for locating in the ! within one's sphere of intimacy, building a bridge erraro 1996: 79).
ously passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence legal advocacy process initiated by a coalition of rever masked deep hostility and anxieties expressed bout the need for such an Act, its 'western’, NGO gative impact on the family. The Act, as eventually organisations, particularly as it failed to recognize omen's and girls' experience of domestic violence, nificant departure from the status quo pertaining to 2s, has opened up "a discursive space of struggle bossibilities of resistance against such violence.
XVA, the official discourse surrounding it remains overnment presents the Act, at least in transnational d is under intense scrutiny, as a major breakthrough bout the wisdom of passing the Act and the need including at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan and feminist post-structuralist thought, this paper nding domestic violence prior to, during and after to understand the construction of such violence le theoretical framework of the paper, outlining the lar to understanding the narratives around domestic
ICES Working Paper Series
violence. Part 2 charts the history of the making of involving the state and other actors in contestation proposed Act was seeking to address. This section : departed from the proposals put forward by wom day discourses on domestic violence in Sri Lanka; ; and condone domestic violence, and an alternative well as women victim-survivors that highlight the many ways in which the latter try to make their live
This paper draws from the findings of a quantitativ by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (IC with a range of experts including activists, lawyer depth interviews with Prof. Savitri Goonesekere' intimately acquainted with the history and substar Dhara Wijyatileke, former Secretary to the Ministry a pivotal role in steering the Act through Parliam debates on the PDVA reported in the Hansard and violence in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
Part 1: Discourse, subjectivity anc
According to Foucault (1995, 1992, 1991 1980, 19, through discursive practices that shape our min interplay in the formation of these discourses. Thus in action. Discourse is not what is said (or unsaid (Mc Houl and Grace 1993, Bachchi and Eveline 2 systematically form the objects of which they sp that discourses are not concrete objects that can be productive in that it constantly produces the objec not simply the means by which a human subject, e accomplishes something Rather, the discursive cor positions which form the subject and in which the 2010: 20–21).
Foucault suggests that there are a multitude of a through language. This means that, surrounding a competing discourses, which are vying for the sta Foucault also argues that some discourses have g to dominate the public sphere. These tend to be i
1 Former Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo, and also a former
2 Former Executive Director, Women and Media Collective.
the PDVA as a highly politicized discursive activity over various possible meanings of the problem the lso explores in detail the extent to which the PDVA 2n's Organisations. Part 3 maps competing presentdominant discourse that is attempting to trivialise or reverse discourse of women's organisations as rain and trauma of domestic violence as well as the
s free of such violence.
a mapping of domestic violence services conducted ES) between 2009-2011, which included meetings s, and public officials. In addition, it draws on in
and Kumudini Samuel, women's rights activists ce of the PDVA, and, a telephone interview with 7 of Justice, Government of Sri Lanka, who played ent. Finally, the paper relies on the Parliamentary builds on secondary research focusing on domestic
2) we learn how to write, speak, think, and behave ds, bodies and emotions. Power and knowledge s discourse is more than justlinguistic; it is language ) but what constrains or enables what can be said )10:5). For Foucault, discourses are practices that eak” (Foucault 1995: 49). Mills further elaborates analyzed in their own right; instead, a discourse is cts of its knowledge (1997: 17). Discourse, then is xisting prior to the discourse, expresses herself or hditions (rules and criteria) set up specific places or
subject participates in their own formation (Jones
ternative versions of phenomena, made available ny one object, event or person there may be many tus of truth at any given point of time in history. eater status than others and therefore a tendency nstitutionally sanctioned and reinforce established
member of the UN CEDAW Committee from 1999-2002.
economic, legal, familial, religious or educational further points out while most people will exercise members, friends, or colleagues, they rarely mak members of powerful social groups and institution or less exclusive access to, and control over publi the means through which individuals and groups c society (Cooper 2003). Such a view, as Bacchi and institutional mechanisms that allows some knowlec over discourses (2010).
Thus the different meanings of domestic viole possibilities for being or different subject positio implications for the process of reproducing or c concern with 'normality and acceptability withir question the subject positions offered by domina violence as a natural part of married life or blame t that it will be perceived as intolerable behaviour c considered 'domestic violence'. The point is that th are discursively produced have material or lived eff
Nevertheless, for Foucault, discourse is an asset by more prominence and status they can never elimit (Bachchi and Eveline 2010: 5) i.e. ways of thinkin rendered invisible within the dominant apparatus of paper, these can be considered the self-knowledge and the knowledge of those who support them, wh
narratives of domestic violence.
Part II: A brief history of the PDV
Within the international context, domestic violen activists in the early 1970s, active in the second political upheaval of the 1960s and the creation issues previously considered “private”. The feminis not simply an individual or isolated problem but p power relations between men and women (Dobash
It took another 20 years before it became part of violence against women. In 1992, General Recom Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination agair
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
horms (Bachchi and Eveline 2010:5) As van Dijk control over their daily conversations with family e a contribution to public discourse. In contrast s, and especially their leaders (the elites), have more : discourse (1993). These discourses are thus also onvince others to consent to a certain ordering of Eveline further point out, directs attention to the ge to become dominant in the struggle for control
nce circulating in society will provide different ns for the women and men involved, which has ‘Ontesting existing power relations. However, the Society will lead most women to accept without int discourses (Weedon 1997: 89). If women see hemselves for provoking the violence, it is unlikely or illegitimate power. In effect, it is unlikely to be e way in which problems such as domestic violence ects (Bachchi and Eveline 2010: 149).
nature, for even though some discourses will gain nate what he refers to as 'subjugated knowledges' g and doing that have been eclipsed, devalued, or power/knowledge. From the point of view of this held by women victim-survivors about themselves
nich often diverge, contradict and challenge official
ce was constructed as a critical issue by feminist
wave of the women's movement following the of forums and language for public discussion of t analysis emphasized that domestic violence was art of a socio-political problem rooted in unequal
and Dobash 1992).
he international liberal human rights discourse of mendation 19 adopted by the Committee for the st Women (CEDAW Committee) recognized that
ICES Working Paper Series
family violence is one of the most insidious forms Radhika Coomaraswamy, the United Nations Spe dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. Coom; occurs within the private sphere, generally betwe blood or law, and as 'nearly always a gender specifi the gender neutrality of the term' (Coomaraswam ensure that there exists no impunity for the perpet
In the case of intimate violence, male suprem consciously coordinated military establishment,
duty, to chastise their wives. Wife-beating is, the a social license, a duty or sign of masculinity, de completely or largely immune from legal sanctiot in the perpetuation of the violence combined
require that domestic violence be classified and t
domestic criminal justice concern (Coomaraswar
The report, which was accompanied by model legi. governments should undertake legal reform to ad proposed. While there were already a number o domestic violence prior to the report (South Africa of America 1994, New Zealand 1995), the reportin such as Turkey (1998), Antigua and Barbados (199 While this explosion of domestic violence law refor the international discourse on domestic violence sin by deep controversies and struggles over the mear movements and other actors, which were very spec instance, Rajan documents the disputed formation right of residence became one of the major points the state (2005). The process of legal reform was s
While the PDVA in Sri Lanka has to be seen as partic it was simultaneously a response to an issue, with for decades and had made very little headway. The respond to the problem of domestic violence had activists in Sri Lanka by this time. Although domest acts of violence and aggression within the home inc
3 The CEDAW which was adopted in 1979 does not contain an expli This omission was addressed by General Recommendation 19 ado
4 See report of the Special Rapporteur On violence against Women,
ted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights Resolution CN.4/1996/53/Add 2, 2 February 1996.
of violence against women. The 1996 report of cial Rapporteur on Violence against Women was araswamy defined domestic violence 'as that which en individuals who are related through intimacy, c crime perpetrated by men against women despite y 1996). She also highlighted the duty of States to rators of such violence:
acy, ideology and conditions, rather than a distinct, confer upon men the sense of entitlement, if not the refore, not an individual, isolated, or aberrant act, but 'eply ingrained in culture, widely practised, denied and h'. It is, therefore, argued that the role of State inaction with the gender-specific nature of domestic violence reated as a human rights concern rather than as a mere
slation on the subject, recommended that national dress the problem in accordance with the model f countries which had legislated on the issue of 1993, Malaysia 1994, Australia 1994, United States spired legal reform in a number of other countries 2) Philippines (2004), India (2005), and Fiji (2006). m around the world is testimony to the currency of ce the 1990s, many of these processes were marked nings of key concepts between the state, women's cific to the context in each of these countries. For of domestic violence legislation in India, where a of contention between women's organisations and
imilarly contentious in Sri Lanka.
f these international discourses and developments, which women's Organisations had been grappling : inadequacy of both the criminal and civil law to emerged as a critical area of concern for feminist ic violence per se was not a crime in Sri Lanka, and
luding spousal violence could be prosecuted under
cit reference to violence against women, including domestic violence. pted by the CEDAW Committee.
its causes and Consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, submit1995/85: A Framework for Model Legislation on Domestic Violence, El
Chapter XVI of the Penal Code of 1883 titled "( Affecting Life', police inaction in these cases had b The government had introduced significant amenc number of Children and Women Bureau Desks in female police personnel, to facilitate treatment of these Desks were often inadequately staffed, poo child abuse than violence against women (CENWC change in the response of the police to domestic gravity of such complaints, treating domestic viol interference wasn’t warranted (Wijayatilleke and Gul “warn and discharge' the perpetrators. In close-kni
higher levels of male collusion, these warnings we
Under General Law, applicable to Sinhalese and husband and claim support for herself in a maint resume cohabitation. She could also obtain a rest andinitiate matrimonial proceedings forjudicial se judicial separation could later be converted into a for a divorce on the ground of malicious deserti because of habitual cruelty on the husband's part. out and adversarial court proceedings and women r Similarly, under Muslim personal law, while cruelty procedure followed in the Quazi Courts was less c women exercised this option.” Indeed, Sri Lanka is
in the world.'
It was in this context that women's organisations att and push for new legislation. The first discussions b (ICES) where a group of experts and activists wel (DVTF) under the guidance of Radhika Coomaras on various topics which initiated the discussion o the Women and Media Collective (WMC) which ti
5 The first Children and Women Bureau Desk was in fact establishe best handled by women in the Police Force. While the functions ( focus appears to have been largely on child abuse and family Conf a discussion of the Children and Women Bureau Desks establishe 79-82).
6 AsO Interview with Savitri GOOneSekere,
7 Under Muslim Law, a wife can obtain a Fasakh divorce on the gr. does not define the Concept of fault, and whether or not a husband Courts Comprise 'a male Muslim of good character with the powert Board of Quazis and thereafter to the Court of Appeal and the Supr
8 http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo div rat-people-divorce-rat
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
Dffences Affecting the Human Body or Offences een frustrating women's organisations for decades. lments to the Penal Code in 1995 and also set up a police stations between 1993 and 1996, staffed by complaints of violence against women. However, tly resourced and more likely to take up cases of R 1997). Moreover, there was also no discernible violence complaints. They continued to ignore the ence essentially as a private matter in which their Inaratne n.d. 28). Historically police practice was to t communities and small villages where there were
re almost meaningless.
Tamils, a battered wife could separate from her enance action, on the ground that she could not raining order or injunction for domestic violence paration on grounds of cruelty. A court decree for divorce. A woman could also maintain an action on, by proving that cohabitation was impossible
However, all these remedies entailed long drawn arely took this path (Goonesekere 1990: 175-176)." 7 could be a ground for a Fasakh divorce, and the umbersome, anecdotal evidence suggests that few
reported to have one of the lowest divorce rates
empted to shift the discourse on domestic violence egan at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies re constituted as a Domestic Violence Task Force wamy. The DVTF developed a number of papers n a possible law on domestic violence, but it was
hen took the lead to draft a new law on domestic
ld in 1979 on the premise that crimes against Women and children are of the Bureau were to assist and protect both women and children, its lict rather than on women as victims of violence (CENWOR 1997). For d in 1993 and later expanded see Goonesekere and Gunaratne (1998:
pund of an actor omission amounting to "fault' of the husband. The law is guilty of fault will depend on the circumstances of each case, Quazi o administer Muslim law in Sri Lanka. Appeal from Quazi courts lie to a ene Court.
ICES Working Paper Series
violence in 1999. WMC was also influenced by a on acts of violence against women reported in t violence including assault, grievous hurt, sexual as high (Samuel 1999). Once a first draft of the law with a number of organisations. As Kumidini Sam
We went to different constituencies. Our first
members of networks such as Mothers and D; Forum. Apart from these groups, we were clea meetings with members of the bar, with the me health sector was very supportive. I remember
professionals. ... I remember being taken aback who came for some of the meetings and then fe the draft, talk about it and ask for their support. V women's organisations such as Women. In Need There were some detractors and not everybody
the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Following these discussions, the draft bill was furth By March 2001, a final version of the draft bill was in a Shadow Report, coordinated by CENWOR, of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ( and 4th report under CEDAW in January 2001. Co during the constructive dialogue with the GoSL, b systematic data and the absence of specific legisla incidence. It then specifically called on the GoSL t
On the return of the government delegation from N at least on the part of some officials, and particul Ministry of Justice at the time, to begin impleme CEDAW Committee. A discriminatory provision married Sri Lankan woman from passing national a Sri Lankan citizen, received the immediate atten in 2003. Domestic violence law reform followed. consulted, in the official narrative of the history of
9 See Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Wome UN Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 28 January 2002, CED) Women, Combined third and fourth periodic report:Sri Lanka. 30/01 ments) Twenty-sixth Session, 14 January-1 February 2002.
10 See Goonsekere, Savitri 1997 Nationality and Women's Human R Women, ed. A. Byrmen, J. Connors and Lumbik, 86-100. London, suffered by Sri Lankan Women married to foreign spouses,
report that they had compiled, the previous year, he press, which found that incidents of domestic Sault and even murder of women were alarmingly was ready, WMC initiated discussions on the draft, uel of the Women and Media Collective recalls:
stop was with community-based groups, who were aughters of Lanka and the Sri Lanka Women's NGO : that we needed to work with other allies. So we had dia, with health professionals and with academics. The having really good meetings with fairly senior medical by the number of people and the profile of the people eling quite daunted by the fact that you had to present We, of course, also had extensive discussions with other (WIN) and Centre for Women's Research (CENWOR).
was first convinced of the need for an Act, but mostly
er refined particularly with inputs from CENWOR. ready. Women's organisations also raised this issue submitted to the Committee for the Elimination CEDAW) prior to consideration of Sri Lanka's 3" nsequently, the Committee not only took it up the ut went on to express its concern over the lack of tion to combat domestic violence despite its high o enact legislation on domestic violence as quickly
ew York, there was a commitment and a willingness, arly from Dhara Wijayatilake, the Secretary to the ntation of some of the recommendations of the in the Citizenship Act (1948), which prevented a ty on to her children, where her husband was not ion of the Ministry of Justice" and was amended While women's organisations were informed and the PDVA, the fact that an NGO draft was already
n, Twenty-sixth Session, Summary record of the 545th meeting held at WICISR. 545, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against (2002. CEDAWIC/2002/I/CRP31Add.5. (Concluding Observations/Com
ghts: The AsiaPacific Experience. In Advancing Human Rights of Commonwealth Secretariat, which had highlighted the discrimination
available in the public domain is not acknowledg placed before Parliament in 2005 and then subseq
Women and Media Collective, together with oth Over two years to shape the form and content ( approved by Cabinet and placed in Parliament w their own convictions about what was needed b
context of that time. If they believed that somet
It should be noted that Dhara Wijayatilake and ] Women's Affairs who presented the GoSL's report on gender issues, and the latter had also been a met believed in the need for legal reform. Besides the legal reform process, they also had the necessaryl to persuade the Ministry of Justice to place the ref
The Parliamentary debate
The PDV Bill was introduced in Parliament in Fel of the bill, it became a lightning rod for conflicting violence and the appropriate responses to it with a
and as many speaking against it.
Several MPs both from the ruling party and the C Senewiratne, the Minister of Justice and Judicial Ref Minister of Foreign Affairs, for instance stated t legislation is necessary” and welcomed the bill as a relevant”. G.L.Peiris, MP, (presently Minister of E. to the bill as a “very timely and beneficial piece certainly a dire need for this in the legal system of to a national priority in formulating this legislation
A number of other MPs acknowledged the serious about domestic violence to emphasize their point.T. shared his own personal knowledge of the existen
I was living with my family in summit flats. I must of domestic violence, as I mentioned, which were:
occurring in the houses of people who held quite
11 Hansard, 22 February 2005. p. 1026. 12 Hansard, 22 February 2005, p. 1035.
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
ed. It was the GoSL draft bill, which was finally
lently passed. Samuel states:
er women's organisations engaged with the Ministry for f the Act. However, in the end, the final bill that was tas shaped by the Justice Ministry officials according to ut also what was possible, given the political mood and
hing was not necessary or not possible, it did not get in.
Lalitha Dissanayake, Secretary of the Ministry of before the CEDAW Committee, had both worked mber of the National Committee for Women. Both ir personal commitment, which was critical to the average within the political and bureaucratic set-up orms before Cabinet.
bruary 2005. During the second and third reading g understandings of the phenomenon of domestic number of MPs speaking strongly in support of it,
opposition endorsed the bill, congratulating WDJ. orms who introduced it. Wiswa Warnapala, Deputy hat domestic violence is “a matter against which in important piece of legislation which is, “socially xternal Affairs, but then in the opposition), referred of legislation.” He went on to say that, "There is
our country” and that the “Minister has responded
ness of the problem, sometimes sharing anecdotes issa Vitharana, Minister for Science and Technology,
ce of domestic violence:
say that I was very surprised to find that these incidents repetitive problems, which were sustained problems, were : high office in our administrative structure. If I had not
ICES Working Paper Series
actually witnessed them ... I would have assum that I was a doctor and having had contacts with h I think it is an extremely severe problem and we
people who are affected by domestic violence thr
Sarathchandra Rajakaruna, MP:
I know of an incident - the husband used to cot woman could not bear it any longer, she comm There are many cases like this. The root cause occupy a lower status in our society than men. they don't like to empower them.'
There were however several speakers, who express Sri Lankan context required a different response tc the Bill, Sujata Alahakoon, MP said:
This word domestic violence is to0 heavy for our Joe western county. When we hear the word domesti institution, the most noble institution (my emphasis continuity of our society - the family (my emph our universities, even in this institution (parliame disputes to the police or to the courts. But to anc our society. If we are able to address this probler that it would be better."
Joseph Micheal Perera, MP commenced his speechs serious issues” but that there are “ways to address sc
Particularly within the Catholic community, wh problems can be solved. We are able to amical families which might have got destroyed. Even Although this bill has been accepted and adopte In this country, the tie between husband and wife is very
Jeyraj Fernandopulle, MP went on to add:
Let us imagine that the husband comes home a her. Then the wife goes to the police and makes order. Then the court will separate the husband
13 Hansard, 9 August 2005, p.253. 14 Hansard, 9 August 2005, p. 257. Translated from Sinhala by the a
15 Mobilising children's welfare to undermine women's rights is not a vanced to prohibit women with children under five from traveling a
16 Hansard, 22 February 2005. p. 1022. Translated from Sinhala by t 17 Hansard, 22 February 2005. p.1069, Translated from Sinhala by t
d that this is not a very big problem. By virtue of the fact ospitals, I have an idea of the magnitude of this problem. have to take suitable action to relieve the suffering of the
oughout our country in every social class.'
ne home drunk everyday and harass his wife. When this litted suicide. . . . This incident was never investigated. is alcohol or ignorance or the perception that women
...) Husbands don't like when their wives are cleverer,
ed reservations arguing that the specificities of the domestic violence." During the second reading of
iety (my emphasis). This is the reason for it. We are not a c violence it inspires fearinus about the most important ) and at the same time the institution which ensures the asis). There is violence everywhere - in our schools, in 2nt)... The solution to this problem is not to take these other proximate social unit - then we will able to protect
n through an open and amicable dialogue, it is my belief
aying that, “the issues mentioned in this bill are very ome of these issues in our culture'. He went on:
en such incidents occur, there are forums where these ply discuss and solve problems. We have saved many
in the Buddhist community I know that this happens. d in many countries our social context is very different.
strong (my emphasis)."
hd scolds his wife. He doesn't beat her, but only scolds a complaint. The police use this law to get a protection
and wife for one year....
uncommonstrategy -for instance, in Connection with reasons adroad for work.
What happens to the children? ...) What happ that child go to school? . . . Who will mainta this country undertake various research studies. reports and want to show impacts . . . Why sh Just because there are such laws in other parts of want to strengthen our families or destroy them:
Those who spoke in support and those who oppos Not all members of the ruling United People's F1 bill, with the Catholic and Buddhist lobby within t The most strident detractors of the bill were howe Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Uramaya (JHU the main opposition United National Party (UNP) a number of women MPs of the UNP. However, t their conscience with respect to the Bill, implying t interest. One of the strongest voices against the b while a number of women from the ruling Alliance opposed the bill on the ground that domestic violen to family values, children's welfare, Buddhist culture of the bill as well as local cultural narratives that ti these arguments were a hostility to change and a st these themes are taken up further on in this paper.
The Parliamentary Consultative C
The lack of consensus with reference to the pro particularly within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Alliance, caused the vote on the bill to be postp of Justice was asked to convene a Joint Consult concerns and propose amendments. The Ministry that Magistrate Court proceedings should be repla that domestic violence complaints should be medi substantial evidence from around the world that m particularly between intimate partners (see p. 20). V their views on the proposed changes to the Bill.
In Foucault's analysis while every discursive terrai
18 Hansard, 22 February 2005, p.1074. Translated from Sinhala by th
19 The JVP and the JHU espouse a Sinhala Buddhist nationalistideo lowing a change in leadership in 2005 also retreated back into a Sil tion of power within parliament and the ideological position of this r defeated.
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
ens to the future of these children? (emphasis added). Can in the child? This will destroy our families. NGOs in They do studies with one or two families and produce hould we bow under pressure from such organisations.
the world, why should we change our systems? Do we
ed the bill cut across party, ethnic and gender lines. eedom Alliance (UPFA), spoke in support of the he UPFA finding common ground in opposing it. 7er from the two small parties, the Janatha Vimukthi J).' In contrast, all Members of Parliament from , who intervened, spoke in support. This included he UNP allowed its Members to vote according to hat this was not a matter worthy of party policy or bill came from JVP woman MP, Sujata Alahakoon, : preferred not to express any opinion. Those who lice is not a matter for judicial intervention appealed 2, the catholic tradition, the western/NGO origins rivialise and dismiss domestic violence. Evident in rong impulse to maintain the status quo, Some of
visions of the bill, following its second reading, (SLFP), the main constituent party of the ruling oned. Following the postponement, the Ministry tative Committee of Parliament to discuss these then sought a compromise solution and suggested ced completely with the concept of mediation, i.e. lated through family counsellors. This was despite ediation does not address the problem of violence,
Women's organisations were also invited to present
n is characterized by both power and knowledge,
le author. logy Coupled with an anti-westernandanti-NGO stance. The UPFA folhhalanationalist ideology of the same ilk. Given the Current Configuraegime, the PDVA, if placed in parliament today, WOuld most probably be
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where some discourses are more powerful than
relations between the various different discourses ( in Sri Lanka, the discourse of women's organisa violence against women had sufficient power to in to domestic violence, but during the Parliamentary and attack. The consultative committee process p otherwise available for women's organisations to ch
Savitri Goonesekere recalls her response to the pro
The NGOs were told to discuss the issue and co meeting with the National Committee for Wome the legislation. I said you cannot mediate violence Priyanthi where this woman had gone to the p husband and the mother-in-law stuffed rags into groups had collectively asked for explanations f could we now support mediation? I said violence which the state has an obligation to prevent. Thi is to say to the woman go back to your husban doing. I suggested that rather than compromise some hard evidence from people outside women Prof. Harendra de Silva, who was the Chairpersc at the time. They had both worked on the issue the Committee with Lakshman and Harendra at this is not a case of a man throwing a cup of tea about pathological abuse. Broken teeth. Broken immediately sensed that the MPs present, who h; bill. We left with the impression that we had won
In his representation to the Committee, Dr. Laksht of experience, spoke about the number of pregn injuries due to domestic violence and the impact of as the foetus. In his submission, Prof. Harendra de the resistance to the establishment of the NCPA 2
that was uncovered consequent to its establishmen
Following this meeting, CENWOR drafted a brief offices of all Parliamentarians. As a result of the meeting, the Magistrate Court procedure was left un
was dropped. However, the Ministry, as a concessic
20 See Daily News article dated 19 February 1996 reproduced in GOC 21 interview with Savitri Goonesekere,
others, it is also characterized by shifting power Weedon 1997: 104-106). In the case of the PDVA tions and the liberal human rights discourse of Fluence the bureaucracy to initiate reforms relating debate this discourse came under intense scrutiny rovided an opportunity that would not have been allenge the meaning and power of these opposing
posed amendment at that time:
me back and agree to this compromise. We then had a n (NCW). I was against what I saw as a major change in !'. We had enough examples, such as the case of Nayana olice many times and they did nothing. Eventually the her mouth and set her on fire and she died. Women's rom the police at the time, and raised this issue. How must be recognized as a crime against bodily integrity s (mediation) will only reinforce police inaction, which d’. Mediation would simply legalize what the police is on our stand, we should provide the Committee with s groups. We contacted Dr. Lakshman Senanayake and in of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) of domestic violence and child abuse. We went before ld they presented their data. I recall Lakshman saying at his wife, because it is not hot enough. We are talking bones. Their representations were very powerful. We ad objected earlier had nothing more to say against the
man Senanayake, a Gyaenocologist with long years ant women who come before him with physical such violence on the health of the mother as well Silva reminded the Parliamentarians present about und the magnitude of the problem of child abuse
and simple flyer, which they were able to send to NGO intervention at the Consultative Committee touched and the idea of replacing it with mediation
on to those who had expressed concerns regarding
nesekere and Guneratne 1998:219–220,
the impact of the Act on the family, agreed to ad order a social worker or family counsellor to cou Interim Protection Order (see sec 5 (2)(a)). This of the bill.
The Parliamentary debate and subsequent negotiat sites of discursive struggle Over competing unders and the appropriate responses to it, involving the based on different knowledge claims. Some Parli normal part of married life within Sri Lankan cultu intervention. The bureaucracy constructed dom offence against the body drawing on ideas of form indicators enjoyed by Sri Lankan women. Women problem of domestic violence as an expression of on a feminist and liberal human rights analysis of Committee process, they made a strategic shift in language relating to children's welfare and women The success of the strategy adopted by women's of domestic violence as well as its negative impac welfare approach to women’s rights issues may su
Convergences and divergences
Domestic violence legislation, in most contexts, 1 status quo and assumptions about family harmony. „
This is a law . . . that creates divisions within violence by a legal protection order (a piece of p patriarchal privilege by imposing the law as limit, behaviour; undermines the autonomous regim with its own rules, regulations, forms of cont punishment by bringing it within the overarching
Yet as she and also other writers have further point inevitably leads to trade offs, complicities and C section explores in detail the convergences and di
organisations as well as the state in the process of
1. Gender Specific v Gender Neutral Law: F whereas the NGO draft was grounded in an anal
tends to be between men and women in intimate
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
d a clause which empowered Magistrates Court to Insel the two parties following the issuance of an also helped shift the balance of opinion in favour
ions over the provisions of the PDVA thus became tandings of the phenomenon of domestic violence pureaucracy, politicians and women's organisations lmentarians sought to construct the problem as a re, which did not require a legal response or judicial estic violence as a generalized and gender-blind al equality and the favourable human development organisations, on the other hand, constructed the patriarchal power and gendered impunity, drawing he problem. Nevertheless, during the Consultative their Own discourse appropriating particularly the 's health to counter the opposition to the PDVA. organisations to present the health consequences :t on children highlights that a health or children's
Icceed where a feminist or women's human rights
represents a radical departure from the prevailing As Rajan points out:
the family; pits rights against naked power; Counters aper, a threat of arrest, a form of surveillance); checks rule, restraint, protocol or pedagogic instruction about e of the patriarchal household operating as a regime ol, surveillance, obedience, hierarchies, contempt and
g regime of a single, uniform formal legal system;
ed out, negotiations with the state for legal reform ompromises (Rajan 2005, De Alwis 2007). This sergences as well as shifts in positions of women's legislating the PDVA.
irstly, the PDVA is framed in gender-neutral terms ysis that the preponderance of domestic violence
relationships and women are more often than not
ICES Working Paper Series
the victims. A Preamble to the NGO draft therefo.
as a ‘serious social evil’ but also a violation of humi the majority of the victims.” The Ministry, in its d in a country where women enjoyed strong human ( violence law would be difficult to defend and mi 12(1) of the Constitution (i.e. the equality clause) This argument was made despite the fact that Art provision can be made by law for the advancement of the PDVA “any person' in respect of whom an act committed can make an application to the Magistra conceded by many of the women's organisations in terms of the human right to personal security and to the strategic advantages of such an approach:
Feminist ideology was very important in the ea institutional discrimination against women. How an infringement of the right to personal and bod of patriarchy, could catalyse more support for el
That is also why we were able to undermine the s
way in which to strategise against the new campa
However, not all analysts of the PDVA share this v 12th CENWOR National Convention, argued tha men and children in a domestic environment are e and equal opportunities, undermines the PDVA du of patriarchal power in Sri Lanka (2010). While t violence protection law in the Sri Lankan context is its 'degendering, in the popular imagination, the Pl
protect women from men.
2. Strengthening both the criminal and the remedy: When women's organisations began discu violence, initial debates focused on the merits of st through suitable amendments versus enacting a sc remedies. In keeping with the recommendation by Women that ideal legislation with regard to dom criminal and civil remedies, the NGO draft prepa criminal remedies drawing from UN model legislat
22 See Preamble, Domestic Violence Act, Draft, 22nd March 2001, (d Women and Media Collective published in Perera-Rajasingham, Kc
23 SeC.2 of the PDVA.
24 interview with Savitri GOOnesekere,
re explicitly recognized domestic violence not only lan rights, particularly of women and girls who are raft of the bill dropped the Preamble, arguing that levelopment indicators, a gender specific domestic ght even be struck down for violation of Article , on the basis that it violates the right to equality. 12(4) of the Constitution recognizes that special of women, children or disabled persons. In terms : of domestic violence has been, is, or is likely to be te’s Court for a protection order:o This change was volved, as they then began to re-conceptualize it in bodily integrity in the family. Goonesekere points
rly decades and helped us highlight the dimension of ever, a human rights approach i.e. domestic violence as lily security rather than just a denial of equality because liminating it. I think our PDVA reflects that approach. tereotypical male response. I believe that this is the only ign on Sri Lankan family values.'
iew. Rose Wijeyesekera, in a paper presented at the t the underlying premise of the Act that women, :qual and can therefore be guaranteed equal rights le to its failure to recognize the entrenched nature he full implications of a gender neutral domestic yet to be studied, what is interesting is that despite DVA is still widely considered a law which seeks to
civil law versus introducing a purely civil issing the question of draft legislation on domestic rengthening existing provisions in the Penal Code parate law that combined both civil and criminal * the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against estic violence would be one that combines both red by women's groups combined both civil and ion, the South African Domestic Violence Act of
raft law produced by a coalition of Women's groups headed by the is and de Alwis (2007).
1998 and a draft domestic violence law produced t
The PDVA however focuses exclusively on a civ Justice was that existing provisions relating to crim specific to violence within the family or the home law that duplicated women's recourse to a criminal existing legal provisions. However, there was an un violence needed to be strengthened (particularly ir be undertaken at a later date.' These amendments
3. Competing definitions of violence: One C the PDVA relates to the definition of violence. The violence, which included physical, sexual, emotiona dated March 22" 2001). Activists strongly argued PDVA should be given a clear definition. But the Penal Code and narrower in scope than the NGO
The PDVA defines domestic violence as acts of recognized under Chapter XVI of the Penal Cod body such as hurt, grievous hurt, wrongful restrain as well as extortion, and intimidation making up ; the PDVA). After much debate, emotional abuse (d or humiliating conduct of a serious nature direct the PDVA) was added as a ground for a Protecti recognized in the Penal Code are not identified unc whether marital rape and sexual abuse between sp although it has been argued that the Act allows fo1 violence (Wijeyesekera 2010).
4. Counselling: The PDVA in Sec. 12 (1) (c) pro other forms of rehabilitative therapy for the respon included in the Act, just prior to its passage, as a C by JVP and JHU members during the second rea the responsibility of the state to provide certain allocation of resources for such purpose, it did not In fact counselling in family courts has generally m which in turn often translates into pressure on the remains whether this provision has smuggled in th family at any cost?
25 Interviews with Dhara Wijayatilake, Savitri Goonesekere and Kum
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
y women's groups in India (Gomez 2001a).
il remedy. The thinking within the Ministry of tes against the body in the Penal Code though not could be used to prosecute such violence, and a remedy was unnecessary and would only 'devalue' derstanding that the criminal response to domestic relation to types of violence) and that this would are yet to see the light of day.
if the key differences between the NGO draft and NGO draft had an elaborate definition of domestic l, verbal as well as economic abuse (Sec 3 of draft that Magistrates who would be implementing the Ministry wanted a definition that was linked to the draft.
physical violence, which constitute offences already e. This comprises 69 offences against the human it, wrongful confinement, rape, grave sexual abuse a total of 71 penal code offences (Schedule 1 of lefined as a pattern of cruel, inhuman, degrading ed towards an aggrieved person - Sec. 23.9b) of on Order. Offences against the human body not ler the PDVA as forms of violence. Consequently, ouses are covered by the Act remains a question,
a broader interpretation that encompasses sexual
ides for mandatory counselling, psychotherapy or dent and the aggrieved person. This provision was ompromise solution following concerns expressed ding of the bill. While the NGO bill referred to services such as counselling and shelters and also prescribe mandatory counselling for both parties. eant 'mediation' or bringing about reconciliation, wife to 'adjust to her situation. The question also rough the back door the agenda of preserving the
ICES Working Paper Series
5. Locus standi (legal standing): In terms of sec an application to the Magistrate's Court for a Pro 'a person, in respect of whom an act of domestic Where the aggrieved person is a child, a parent, gi person authorized in writing by the National Chil 3) by a police officer on behalf of an 'aggrieved p
In contrast to sec 2(1) of the PDVA, Sec 5(1) of several other persons, such as social workers, cou bring an application on behalf of an applicant. ) attempted to lobby the United National Front (U the locus standi of women's organisations in such ca for the bill without accommodating this demand, passed in Parliament, due to prevailing anti-NGO December 2003 and the bill was only presented in power in 2004. Given the number of cases bein this lack of recognition of locus standi of wome hampered them. Analysing 37 cases filed under
argues that the role played by WIN demonstrates
not being permitted to file applications under their however not aware of the role that they can play ti
6. Privacy: One provision, which in retrospect ha in the Act is the provision on privacy, which was a PDVA states that, "any person who prints or publi
(a) The name or any matter which may mak in an application under the Act; or
(b) Any matter other than a judgement of to any proceeding under this Act, in any Co description for a term which may extend to and fine'.
A similar provision on privacy was present in the
26 When the PDW bill was first sent for Cabinet approval, Sri Lanka
UPFA and a parliament controlled by a United National Front (UNI stage was greatly delayed due to the time taken to Consider objec those that could file objections (Wijayatilake 2009:54). When Cabi the President dissolved Parliament and called for fresh elections, Parliamentary elections held subsequently, the UNF lost and ane sent the bill for cabinet approval which was obtained and the bill fi
2(1) of the PDVA, the following persons can make tection Order: 1) An aggrieved person defined as violence has been or is likely to be committed; 2) lardian, a person with whom the child resides, or a i Protection Authority, on behalf of such child; or
the NGO draft had recognized the locus standi of insellors, and women's organisations or groups, to Before the bill became law, women's organisations NF) government of the time to at least recognize ses. After much delay, cabinet approval was granted lue to a perception that it would be harder to get it sentiments. However, Parliament was dissolved in Parliament after a new UPFA government came to g dealt with by women's organisations (see below), n’s organisations does not appear to have unduly the PDVA by Women in Need, Wijayatilleke also that there is indeed no disadvantage due to NGOs names (2009:55). Many women's organisations are o support the filing of cases by women.
is emerged as one of the most problematic sections dmittedly also in the NGO draft. Section 20 of the
2 known the identity of an applicant or a respondent
the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, in relation urt shall be punished with imprisonment of either wo years or to a fine or to both such imprisonment
NGO draft to the effect that:
ad the unusual situation of having an Executive President from the ) government led by the United National Party. Cabinet approval at this ions by those who complained that NGOs were not included among het approval was eventually obtained for the bill from the UNF Cabinet, due to disagreements relating to the peace process with the LTTE). In UPFA government was returned. The Ministry of Justice then again ally presented in parliament in February 2005.
No person shall publish in any manner ar reveal the identity of any party to the proce fide law report which does not mention the proceedings or of any witness at such proce
Domestic violence legislation will inevitably generg such legislation challenges the very notion that dot this provision in the NGO draft was to protect th where she could speak candidly and without fear a way that the privacy of victims of sexual abuse are intervention of G.L Peiris, M.P on the question c Parliament can however be read as an attempt to pi
violence albeit on grounds of protecting women.
In formulating and implementing legislation of context is an overriding importance, the cultura Minister of Justice, I consistently advised the
borrow salutations which have worked successf We want particularly in matters dealing with do wife, custody of children, intestate succession in context of the country. If that is the case, M provision in this law for certain prohibitions with the identity of the women or the child. Otherwi. stigma will attach to a person who achieve some therefore necessary to protect the vulnerable per into the law prohibitions with regard to publicity
Given the pervasive silence surrounding domestic as well as authoritative judgements of the court important role in breaking the silence surrounding that perpetuate such violence (Fenton 1999). As C
In a sense the whole idea of having a court pr perpetrator of this violence. You are taking thi violence is unacceptable as violence in the comm non-private process is that this is an issue that shaming aspect to it. Because, if this woman i then why have this concept of privacy which is this country. The privacy concept could have provision that would have balanced the interests
culture of silence on the perpetrators violence.
27 Secs 18(1)-(3) Domestic Violence Act, Draft, 22 March 2001. 28 Hansard, 22 February 2005. p. 1040. 29 interview with Savitri GOOneSekere.
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
y information which might, directly or indirectly edings [. . .] unless it is the publication of a bona names or reveal the identities of the parties to the edings.”7
te tensions around the question of privacy because nestic violence is a private matter. The intention of : privacy of the victim-survivor and create a space bout her experience of violence, much in the same protected through proceedings held in camera. The f privacy, during the second reading of the bill in omote the culture of silence surrounding domestic
this kind, I would respectfully suggest that the cultural l context of the country. That is why when I was the Law Commission that it is not satisfactory simply to ully in other countries because the culture is different. mestic violence, the relationship between husband and ! this range of matters, we have to consider the cultural r. Deputy Speaker, it is absolutely necessary to make 1 regard to publicity. It is absolutely necessary to protect se, there is a danger of ostracism in our society, a social kind of notoriety as a result of court proceedings. It is son who is the focus of this entire legislation by putting
violence, narratives of violence before the judiciary on this issue, have been recognized as playing an violence and challenging the patriarchal structures oonesekere also points out:
ocedure was that there should be publicity against the incident out of the private space on the ground that unity. ... The whole purpose of having a non-mediated, should be in the public space. There is a naming and s willing to go to court, and allege domestic violence, not there in general for any other legal proceedings in een accommodated but with a more carefully drafted of the aggrieved person and the need to undermine the
ICES Working Paper Series
In a recent case a husband named as a respondent whose report in the Sunday Times identified hir apology, expressing its sincere regrets if any pain c item’.” While the principle of privacy is undoubte which is biased against the woman and which inval woman victim-survivor, echoing Goonesekere abc currently enshrined in the Act has a chilling effect free speech of victim-survivors but also the work discussion of individual cases can open up avenue of privacy might only serve to perpetuate the culta is therefore critical to monitor the use of this pro balance between the rights of the parties directly the Act as well as the 'complexities and paradoxes
7. Provision of support services: The lack of domestic violence and particularly the lack of literature on domestic violence in Sri Lanka (Gui up by WMC and other organisations during draft Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violen provision for support services such as shelters, l enacting appropriate laws and procedures to ensure emphasized the need to ensure that the state com services. No provision to this effect was included i
8. Duty of disclosure: During the second read a question relating to the duty of disclosure of ce who become aware of incidents of domestic violer on such persons to disclose information shared wit
However, this suggestion was also not taken up in
9. The Protection Order: There was general c Ministry of Justice on the issue of the Protection O of both the NGO draft and the PDVA, by recogni; orders following the invocation of its jurisdiction u to issue an Interim Protection Order valid for 14 burden of having to prove her case. A Protection then be sought on the basis of evidence presented i
30 See Sunday Times of 27 October 2007 and 6 July 2008. 31 A/RES/48/104 of 20th December 1993.
32 Hansard, 22 February 2005, p. 1042.
under the PDVA filed charges against a journalist m by name; the paper subsequently published an of mind was caused by the publication of this news dly important, in the cultural context of Sri Lanka, riably indulges in naming, shaming and bashing the ve, it is important to reflect on whether privacy as on public discourse, affecting not only the right to of the media and civil society organisations. Public s for wider debate and an overly restrictive reading ure of silence that surrounds domestic violence. It
vision and whether it indeed ensures an effective involved and the range of actors that might use that arise while speaking publicly about domestic
of support services for women victim-survivors state funded services is a recurring theme in the neratne 2001, Jaywardena 1995), which was taken ing of the NGO bill. In keeping with the United ce against Women, which calls on states to make egal and psychological counselling in addition to redress to victims of violence, the NGO draft bill mits adequate resources for the provision of such n the PDVA (Satkunanathan 2005).
ing of the bill in Parliament, G.L. Peiris, MP raised rtain persons such as doctors, lawyers, and priests ice. He proposed that a compulsory duty be placed h them relating to incidents of domestic violence.”
the final Act.
onsensus between women's organisations and the rder. The Protection Order forms the corner stone zing the power of the court to give a wide range of inder the Act. The Magistrate Court is empowered days upon application by a plaintiff without the Order (PO) valid for a period of 12 months can in court. A PO can bar the aggressor from entering
the victim's residence and committing further acts prohibitions, the Court is required to balance the at and any hardship that may be caused to the aggres
This is one of the most radical provisions in the e comment or controversy, perhaps due to bilateral that a large number of women own their matrimo effect that a married woman has a right to live in if the marriage has broken down and the husbanc fewer women own the property that they live in, th continue to share the residence with her husband v
While the women's movement can be considered the PDVA, the State for its part ensured that the quite different from the discourse of the women's these competing power-knowledge claims. The po demands raised by the women's movement from rather by co-opting and diluting them. While this
effect may be to deaden the impact of women discursive power works in complex ways. Particul the misunderstanding that the Act is intended sp has given rise to a backlash and a political counte violence as a normal part of women’s lives, while di cultural and structural factors that foster domestic
Part II: The PDVA in 2011
If legislative debate is understood as a discursive of the problem being addressed compete for do as an attempt to fix meaning and constitute new unfinished task. In this section, I examine the cut the PDVA and the extent to which victim-surviv subject position of an "affected party produced by
Despite the fact that the PDVA was constructed than six years after its passage, in the imagination officials, it continues to be seen as a law intended t in understanding has given rise to highly ambiguou about the Act. In transnational forums where S
33 Canekaratne v Canekaratne 1961 66 NLR380, Alwis v Kulatunga
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
of violence among other prohibitions. In imposing commodation needs of the victim and the children
ntire Act even though in Sri Lanka it inspired little and matrilineal inheritance patterns which ensures nial home and also ample judicial precedents, to the the matrimonial home whether she owns it or not | leaves her.' In contrast in India, where relatively 2 Act merely provides that a woman has the right to whether or not she has a legal right in such property
to have secured a victory with the enactment of Act itself was based on a construction of violence movement. In Foucauldian terms, the Act reflects wer of the state was exercised not by excluding the institutionalized channels of official discourse but does undoubtedly raise concerns that the ultimate 's organisations and their demands (Bush 1992), larly, as I argue in the next section of this paper, ecifically to protect women from spousal violence r-movement that is seeking to construct domestic iverting attention from men's responsibility and the
site, where different understandings and meanings minance, the passage of a law itself can be seen subjectivities, although this will always remain an rent discourse surrounding domestic violence and ors of domestic violence have identified with the
r the PDVA.
as a gender-neutral law within Parliament, more of the public as well as many politicians and public protect women from their spouses. This slippage s and openly contradictory official public discourse
ri Lanka's human rights record is under intense
1970 73 NR337.
ICES Working Paper Series
scrutiny and criticism, the Act is showcased by the rights. When Sri Lanka presented its 5, 6 and 7 January 2011, the PDVA formed a major focus of envoy Sugeeshwara Gunaratna told the UN Hum government's commitment to to strengthen the that awareness and training programs for vulnera
medical, judicial and social workers have been und
Yet within the country questions about the wisdo continue to be raised intermittently, including by
unit and Sri Lanka's age old culture continue to Women's Day celebration held in his constituency,
We have introduced laws to bring relief to wome Some laws from the west have been introduced i Sri Lankan women occupy a high status based on
legal regulations, our cultural values are being w
On another occasion, addressing a gathering at his in the midst of commenting on the practice of low custody without using existing legislation, which p. a sudden shift in the topic of conversation to th suggested that new laws are preventing reconciliat sharp increase in the number of divorce cases filec number of criminal cases filed in these areas.' Th
shown further below does not however support th
These sentiments are widely shared, including by from violence. A very senior lawyer in a governme expounding on the level of harassment experience and the subordination of women within the fam
බැඳගත්ත බෙරේ ගහන්න ඕනෑ මැරෙනකo. Disa counselling is very weak. We don't have profe countries where the divorce rate is about 60% :
liberation for our women if that is what we are
34 Government enacted Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, Sunda
35 Lankadeepa, 10th March 2010: 5. Translated from Sinhala by the
36 Sandun Jayasekera, Prison Congestion a Grave Crisis Daily Mirrc
government as proof of its commitment to human "h combined report to the CEDAW Committee in the report. More recently, in May 2011, Sri Lanka's han Rights Council that the Act was a sign of the substantive procedure in the laws of Sri Lanka and ble groups as well as for law enforcement officials,
m of passing the Act and the need for such an Act the country's President. The sanctity of the family pe deployed in these discourses. For instance, at a
Hambantota, in 2010, the President said:
n. Sometimes I wonder whether these laws are excessive. n Sri Lanka. At first glance they seem very attractive. But our culture which is 2500 years old... and under current reakened, while the legal bond has been strengthened.'
official residence to mark Prisoners Welfare Day, er court judges sending minor offenders to remand rovides for community service, the President made e PDVA. According to the newspaper report, he ion amofag husband and wife and contributing to a i in towns such as Embilipitiya, exceeding even the e actual number of cases filed under the PDVA as
public servants with a mandate to protect women ‘nt institution interviewed for this study, even while
d by women in public transport, the levels of incest ily, expressed his discomfort with the PDVA. He
greements should be negotiated. In Sri Lanka marriage ssional counsellors. We cannot emulate other foreign and women are becoming single mothers. I don't want
going to end up with.
| Observer, 05 June 2011, http://www.colombopage.com/archive 11A1
author. r, 15th September 2010, http:llprint.dailymirror.lk/newsfront-page
It comes as no surprise then that women's right supporters of domestic violence, including filing divorce, undermining the family, etc. Furthermore regulate women's rights work across the island, it is North and to a lesser extent in the East of the col that women’s organisations are not allowed to unde such as domestic violence and child abuse. Elst and sustaining a public discourse that strongly re traditional gender roles.
Family values, cultural narratives
In Sri Lanka, it is clear that “the family” and “familia the Mahinda Chinthana of President Rajapakse’s regi the title 'An Affectionate Family, states:
Our society's foundation is the family in which t improvement of the close and intimate family bo that economic hardship and pressures erode such have prepared a plan to overcome such obstacle and thereby strengthen the family, economically
... The woman provides a solid foundation to th raise children, manage the family budget and ensl
women leads to the empowerment of the entires
Mahinda Chinthana is now official government poli family that were part of the election manifesto has Future, adopted by the Department of National I following Rajapakse's election to a second term a Planning 2010). In the conception of the family threats to it are external such as 'economic harc through economic remedies while the primary res. is that of the woman. Even while the Chinihana ref which is necessarily circumscribed by women’s rol and custodians of domestic peace and harmony.
This ideology has begun to seep into national poli has attempted, more than once, to introduce legis
37 On the other hand, micro-credit programmes and construction oft possible by the fact that development work is being closely monito and Security in the Northern Province, which has the final authority Districts.
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
: advocates and organisations supporting victimcases under the PDVA, are seen as promoting , while it is impossible for the state to police and nevertheless doing so where it can, notably in the ntry. There are numerous reports from the North rtake 'mobilizing and organizing or work on issues where in the country the focus is on generating inforces respect for patriarchal family values and
and 'common sense'
l ideology' has received a fresh lease of life under me. The President's 2005 election manifesto, under
he Mother takes the prime place. It is only through the inds that we can ensure a pleasant society. It is my belief intimate bonds between family members. Therefore, I s, relieve the sufferings of every member of the family
Rajapakse 2005: 5).
e family as well as to the society. She devotes her life to ire peace in the family. Therefore, the empowerment of ociety . . . (Rajapakse 2005: 13).
cy and many of the provisions on women and the ve been reiterated in Mahinda Chinthana: Vision for 'lanning of the Ministry of Finance and Planning President in 2010 (See Department of National as propagated by the Mahinda Chinthana, the only ships and pressures, which are to be addressed ponsibility of upholding and protecting the family 2rs to women's empowerment it is empowerment
's as child-rearers, managers of the family budget
cy in various ways. For instance, the ruling UPFA ation which bans women with children under the
illets are considered acceptable. Such regulation and policing is made ed by the Presidential Task Force For Resettlement, Development on all work undertaken by civil society organisations in the Northern
ICES Working Paper Series
age of five from migrating abroad for work, argu from the home which includes children dropping to abuse etc. outweigh the economic benefits from wife, men are said to be more vulnerable to alcohc disharmony and breakdown of the family (Abeyse
In September 2007, the government closed down facto (although abortion is a crime under the Penal C and statistics indicate a high incidence of abortion annually, of which 86% -96% are reported to be institutions like Marie Stopes, a well-known inter several parts of the island, which had been in Sri L. centres in the country that provided emergency mc and certified medical professionals performing the
The emphasis on family values has intensified foll 2009 and the related project to reconstruct natio contexts, where law and discourse about women definition Yuval Davies and Anthias (1989) and become the markers of political goals and cultural invoked at this moment in time may also be seen society during the war years.
Unsurprisingly, these discourses on gender relation patriarchal cultural narratives and local 'wisdom't particularly popular with politicians, is “GG)co de Idenka vithara), which translates as ‘violence in th constructs domestic violence as a momentary disrup During the second reading in Parliament, Sujata Al
In a country like Sri Lanka, which is not a west disputes are only until the rice is cooked. This
housewives and all women. This is why our socie
38 Indralal De Silva, The Practice of induced Abortion in Sri Lanka, R Harvard School of Public Health 1997 in Shadowing the State throl
39 Women and Media Collective 2011 Shadowing the State through C concluding observations and other documents, Colombo, Women a
40 http://www.nation.lk/2007/12/02/eyefea6.htm. This reportalleges th nent global pro-life Organisation and First Lady, Shiranthi Rajapaks:
41 This is of course not the only cultural justification that exists in rela Others such as ගෙදර ගිනි එළියට දමන්න හොඳ නැහැ (Gedera ! and the home or the family as a private institution and what happen êDaroces coarozsz g ĉ3. (Kanthavath, vahalath, berayath gahann -A Woman, a dog, and a walnut tree, the more you beat'em, the be the husband and the wife as the 'property of the man to be treated
ing that the cost of a mother's prolonged absence out of school, juvenile delinquency, vulnerability her employment. Moreover, in the absence of the labuse and extra-marital affairs, leading to marital kera and Amarasuriya 2010).
all abortion clinics, which had been functioning de ode, abortion clinics had been allowed to function , by some estimates between 125,000 and 175,000 2 by married women'). This crack down included national reproductive health clinic functioning in anka since the late 1970s. This was one of the few enstrual regulation (EMR) with proper counselling
lowing the end of the thirty-year civil war in May nal identity. As in other post-war or transitional
and the family become central to national selfMoghdam (1994), in Sri Lanka too women have identities. The manner in which family values are as an attempt to camouflage the brutalization of
is and domestic violence have drawn heavily from hat justify and legitimise them. One old proverb, a) 35 93,25)zoo öod3” (Gedara Sandu Batha e home is only until the rice is cooked, and which tion in an otherwise calm and peaceful household.' ahakoon MP invoking the proverb said:
ern country, there is an accepted saying that domestic is accepted among our children, our youth, among ty has remained intact at least to this extent. Otherwise
2search Paper No. 137, Takemi Programme in International Health, igh CEDAW, Women and Media Collective, 2011. EDAW: A compilation of the Sri Lanka NGO shadow report, CEDAW and Media Collective. at the Crack down came in the wake of a meeting between a promi
tion to domestic violence within both Sinhala and Tamil language. ginieliyata damanna hodanel) Constructs violence as a private matter is within should not be disclosed in public or zoozoo&as, eacscsa, a sudusu) which is the Sinhala equivalent of the old English proverb, tter they be, where violence is constructed as patriarchal privilege of in any way he desires,
if we run to the police or to the courts every
sustains our society will be put into complete dis
Joseph Micheal Perera MP when it came to his tur
There is a saying that domestic violence is only before the rice is cooked you can take the cas the family. [. . . ] I believe that if this bill is pas culture.'
The President also referring to this proverb during
There is a saying that we have heard that domes people who are different to each other live tog problems most often will only be until the rice is c to the police. According to the existing law, the p is not allowed to enter his own hone. Then the 1 to file for divorce.... We end up unable to reconc
separation. This is my own view."
In order to be effective, a discourse needs a material Most discourses will therefore seek to derive their p scientific knowledge, religion, culture or plain com as the one quoted above derive their power from and therefore true, and is a medium through whic individuals are expressed sometimes in trivial term supposed truths are often rhetorically reinforced all know that, “everybody knows that which emph individuals to accept them, even though they inev 1997: 74).
Indeed, the dominant discourse on domestic violen of the phenomenon as much as by the tendency t invoking ideas around the sanctity of the family as
This is however not unique to Sri Lanka. Kapur at ideology has informed law and policy in India, note activists to prohibit violence and oppressive practic dowry, as well as their efforts to reform personals undue intervention into the private sphere' of the fa in these discourses, “the family does not simply de
42 Hansard, 22 February 2005, p. 1022. Translated from Sinhala by t 43 Hansard, 22 February 2005, p. 1069. Translated from Sinhala by t 44 Lankadeepa, 10th March 2010: 5. Translated from Sinhala by the
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
ime there is domestic violence, the family unit which
l, reiterated these words:
until the rice is cooked. But in terms of this Act, even e to court. This will lead to fundamental changes in sed, it will pose an extremely dangerous threat to our
a Women's Day speech in March 2010, stated:
tic violence is only until the rice is cooked. When two gether under one roof there will be problems. These ooked. Sometimes they may last longer and be reported plice now have to file a case in court. Then the husband ice may get cooked, but the parties have gone to court ile the husband and wife. We are now complicit in their
base in established social institutions and practices. bower from appeal to one source or other, whether mon sense (Weedon 1997: 95-96). Proverbs such the claim to be natural, obvious, common sense n already fixed truths about the world, society and ls that further satirize and reduce the issue. These by expressions such as it is well known that, “we asize their obviousness and put social pressure on itably favour the interests of one group (Weedon
ce in Sri Lanka is marked not so much by the denial o domesticate and legitimise domestic violence by well as culture, common sense and local wisdom.
ld Cossman analysing the manner in which familial that, the efforts of social reformers and feminist as within the family, from sati to child marriages to , ... have time and again been resisted as an mily” (1996: 100). Kapur and Cossman point out that cribe the empirical reality of kinship or household
ICES Working Paper Series
structures, but has an additional ideological dimensic universalize certain specific relations or a particular the patriarchal nuclear family and the sexual divisi as wives and mothers, primarily responsible for chil legitimizing unequal power relationships within tho
Similarly, the tendency of some states to justify domestic violence, on the grounds of culture, t institutional reforms have been noted at the high General's in-depth study on All forms of Violenc 'cultural justifications for restricting women's hum social groups within many countries claiming to d generally voiced by political leaders or traditional a affected (United National Secretary General 2006 Women reiterated this in her 2007 report to the U
Tracing the impact on women's o
A key argument of this paper is that familial id discursive tactics used by powerful actors in Sri parcel of family life or as a temporary aberration is to influence the way men and women think as violence and disguise the power relations and ge prevent discussion of domestic violence both with women's minds, bodies and emotions, persuading t and submissive wife even though it may not be in adjust themselves to families at the expense of the to run deep in Sri Lankan society and are const media, education, religion and law, all contributing
A number of other studies offer evidence of thi violence against women, including domestic viol 10 men in a small village called Remunagoda in t women not only accepted the right of their spouse believed that the violence was brought about due state that stability is produced and maintained in accepted rules of behaviour and that there is no e to understand just how such acts persist in the cul Significantly, she found that the very same group o it came to property disputes; seeking relief throug compliant in any way (1989:12).
on and meaning which in fact operate to naturalize and
set of kinship and household structures; particularly on of labour therein, where women are constructed ld rearing and domestic labour - while obscuring and se structures (1996: 89).
7 and condone violence against women including radition, religion etc, despite significant legal and est level of the United Nations. The UN Secretary ce against Women', released in July 2006, notes that lan rights have been asserted by some states and by efend cultural tradition and that these defences are uthorities and not by those whose rights are actually ). The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against N Human Rights Council (Erturk 2007).
wn attitudes and subjectivities
2ology, cultural narratives, common sense etc. are Lanka to construct domestic violence as part and in otherwise peaceful households. Their purpose ld behave in relation to the problem of domestic inder inequality at its root. Ultimately they aim to in the private and the public sphere by disciplining hem to assume the subject position of an obedient their interest to do so. This idea that women must :ir own feelings and the quality of their lives seems antly propagated through institutions such as the
to its internalization by women themselves.
s internalization. In one of the earliest studies on ence, done in Sri Lanka, amongst 40 women and he Kalutara District, Malsiri Dias found that most s to beat them in a domestic controversy, but often to their own fault’ (Dias 1989:12). She goes on to these relationships through conformity to socially :ffort on the part of the women to rationalize and ture and why they continue to abide by these rules. f women acted in a completely different way when h formal institutions and not being subordinate or
More than 20 years later, there appeared to be litt recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of of violence as patriarchal privilege continues to pre on a number of 'new' topics including women's att 15,000 women' whether they thought that a husl following five scenarios: a) she burns the food; b) ; neglects the children; and, e) refuses sexual relation more than 50% of women believed that a husban the above reasons (2009:194). The DHS also not these attitudes when these findings were disaggreg difference on account of education, although not women with no education thought that at least on a husband to beat her, while 43% of women with were of the same view. The DHS thus concludes least one reason and similar levels of acceptability pervasive and trenchant’ (DHS 2009:196).
Several counsellors interviewed for this study as we intervention services conducted by the ICES (Ko Fifty per cent of women's organisations (providing surveyed cited social attitudes and 40.7% cited re greatest challenges to addressing the problem of d
The statistics on reporting rates (Kelly 2003:3) ca discourses which attampt to render domestic viol make the point that disclosure and redress are n women. Jayasuriya et al. in a study conducted in th battered women (58%) had not revealed the violen first time they had ever talked about the violence in services such as police, hospitals, courts, social serv institutions. Reasons for not disclosing the abuse i reputation (24%) and fear of more violence (12%) non-poor households in six districts found that
family, and religious leaders to resolve domestic v. seeking other services such as counselling and leg gone for counselling and only 14.4% had taken leg
45 The DHS Collected detailed information from all ever-married Wory 068 eligible women were identified, of whom 14, 692 were succes districts of the Northern province (p. xix).
46 See Kodikara,with Piyadasa 2012:55
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
e change in such attitudes. According to the most the Department of Census and Statistics this view vail in Sri Lanka. The 2006/7 survey collected data tudes towards wife beating. The DHS asked nearly and is justified in beating his wife in each of the rgues with him; c) goes out without telling him; d) with him. According to the findings of the survey, i is justified in beating his wife for at least one of 's the lack of significant differences in relation to ated by age, residency etc., except for a very slight hugely significant. Fifty eight per cent (58%) of of the above grounds is good enough reason for Advanced Level or a higher education qualification that the “the overall level of acceptability of at in all age groups suggest that these attitudes are
ll as the quantitative mapping of domestic violence dikara with Piyadasa 2012), confirms this finding services for victim-survivors of domestic violence) sistance on the part of women themselves as the
in also be suggestive of the power of patriarchal ence invisible. A number of studies in Sri Lanka ot options considered by a majority of battered e Western Province found that more than half the ce to anyone, the interview for the study being the their lives and only 23% had accessed institutional ices, legal aid, women's organisations and religious ncluded embarrassment (43%), concern for family (2007: 11). Similarly, a study by CENWOR among while 60.4% women had sought help of friends, olence, only 42.5% had gone to the police. Those al aid were even less. Only 10.9% of women had al action (CENWOR 2011: 42-44).
an aged 15-49 years. Within the households interviewed, a total of 15, fully interviewed (p. xv). The survey covers all districts except the five
ICES Working Paper Series
All this evidence points to what has been often de human development indicators and a favourable with extremely conservative socio-cultural norm
As Abeysekera and Amarasuriya note:
In considering the range of issues that womer although women have benefited from certain p facilities, such as those in the health and educa
achievements to successfully challenge tradition
Breaking the silence
How has the PDVA made a difference in the deepextent is the PDVA an option for women and pro subject position to that of obedient and submissiv
To be clear, evidence suggests that the number in fact very small. The quantitative mapping of ICES (Kodikara with Piyadasa 2012), spanning th organisations mapped by ICES, 11 had supporte the PDVA between 2005 and June 2011, an averag the Children and Women Bureau Desks (CWBDs 247 cases in 2009 and 2010 (anuary to Septemb 1% of the number of complaints of domestic vi below). This finding confirms the analysis of Rizv. the law, if accessed at all, is a remedy of last resor ideological norms and economic considerations (T is negative attitudes within the law enforcement m
However, this must not lead one to conclude th violence. The 86 women's organisations identified services to victim-survivors of domestic violence, i well as shelters. According to the mapping, 35 of of the number of women victim-survivors seeking domestic violence complaints in 2009. Women i support and services to women victim-survivors nearly 3000 cases in 2009. Additionally, Children an a total of 94,094 family disputes' in 2009, a large the Police, pertain to complaints of violence lodge
47 This does not represent the exact number of cases received by th
number of cases received per year,
scribed as a gender paradox in Sri Lanka where high physical quality of life of women exist side by side s that condone and justify violence against women.
l in Sri Lanka face, we see a complex situation, where olicy interventions which have ensured equal access to tion sectors, they have not been able to translate their
all social and cultural norms (2010: 111).
rooted patriarchal milieu described above? To what ovided women victim-survivors with an alternative
of women seeking protection under the PDVA is
domestic violence related services conducted by e years 2009-2011, reveals that of the 86 women's d the filing of 304 domestic violence cases under ge of approximately 50 cases per year. Additionally, ) of the Police were involved in filing 55 cases and per) respectively. These cases constitute less than plence recorded by these institutions (See statistics ina Morseth de Alwis, in an earlier ICES study, that t in these cases mediated by prevailing cultural and De Alwis 2007: 127). Needless to say another factor achinery.
at women are not seeking a response to domestic by the ICES mapping provide a range of support including psycho-social support, legal counselling as these organisations, which had maintained a record their assistance, engaged with approximately 12,000 in Need (WIN), a women's organisation providing of domestic violence across the country, recorded dWomen Bureau Desks of Police stations recorded proportion of which, according to sources within :d by women. Data from the Children and Women
ese 35 organisations but an approximation based on the average
Bureau Desks as well as WIN, compiled Over seve of complaints received by them over the years ( Women are seeking recourse from the Children and finding of this study, given the negative analyses of activists (see p. 5), pointing to the need to strengthe
Table 1: Number of Domestic Violenc Organisations
Year No. of Complaints of Number of DV sssssssss Domestic Violence fied between
2009 2005 - June 2
2009 12,000 304
Source: Kodikara with Piyadasa 2012.
Table 2: Number of Domestic Violence Co
Year No. of Complaints of Domesti
ཟི་ Violence 1997 791
Source: 1997-2000 statistics: WIN quoted in SLShadow Re of Discrimination against Women prepared by CENWO)
and 2011, WIN.
Table 3: Family Disputes recorded by the Police
Year 를 No. of Family Dis
Recorded by the
1991料 19,656 2009 94,094 2010 Jan to Sept 77,733
Source: 1990 & 1991 statistics: Wijayatilake (1995: 299); 2
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
'al years, indicates a steady increase in the number ee Tables 2 and 3). That increasing numbers of Women Bureau Desks of the Police is a significant the police response to victim-survivors by feminist in the gender sensitivity of these institutions.
e Complaints Recorded by 35 Women's
Cases Average number of DV Cases as Dct DV cases per year of the total num
11 ber of complaints
omplaints Received by WIN
port to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms R, November 2001, 2010 statistics: Database statistics 2010
Children and Women Bureau Desks of the
No of DV Cases Fied s by the Police
DV Cases as a all Family Dis Recorded by
009 & 2010 statistics: Children and Women Bureau Desk,
ICES Working Paper Series
Drawing from Kristin Kelly's (2003) distinction be violence, it could be argued that many women vic which is less formal, fluid and marked by the absen is nonetheless materially and psychologically impo.
While women's narratives of violence shared with remained a private discourse, rarely heard in the Take the case of Upeksha Swarnamali, a Member domestic violence before Parliament in March 201 “Pabha’ in a popular television drama, entered Parli securing the second highest number of preferentia the media reported that she was hospitalized after b reported that the husband was taken into custody to Parliament, she spoke about her experience of c Parliament that they should unite to address the pr
After my experience of violence, I reflected on 60% of Sri Lankan women are beaten and 44%
traumatized and suffer because of men's violence all parliamentarians will join me to address this p this country.
Another impassioned and powerful public account a blog curated by the Women and Media Collectivi days of activism against violence against women'. as a mother, lover, rock and roller, journalist, write1
It has never been easy for me to speak of what mean to now, because I feel that my story - or so) I know what it is like to be beaten.... I know wh you have nothing.. ... I know what it is like to bel
I know what it is like to stand waiting at a Police sense to push me to) and have the police laugh
feel like it is you who is in the wrong. ...)
I know what it is like when all the adults that sur1 he will change with time, or that you should be p. How many other women are in the same predical patient, to bow their heads, to stay for the sake with what they say to their husbands, to refrain fi diary, to ask forgiveness for sin, to put their lives
tween state and community responses to domestic tim-survivors are seeking a 'community response, ce of punitive sanctions backed by state power but
rtant for them.
in the institutional spaces above has almost always : public sphere, even this appears to be changing. of Parliament, who spoke about her experience of 1. Swarnamali, who became a household name as ament on a UNP nomination in the 2010 elections lvotes in the Gampaha district. In February 2011, being assaulted by her husband. Later it was further and released on bail. On her recovery and return lomestic violence appealing to all 225 Members of
it and I tried to find out more about this. I found that of pregnant women are also beaten. These women are 2 against them. I want to assist such women. I hope that
problem. Domestic violence should be eradicated from
: of a personal experience of abuse was posted on e in November 2011 to mark the annual global 16 Roel Raymond, the blogger, who describes herself , model, thinker, freedom fighter, and undertaker's
took place during those 5 years I was married, . . . I me part of it may resonate with someone out there ...) at it is like to be told you don't amount to anything, that
teve these lies. (...)
Station to make an entry (because my mother had the
in your direction, look at you sneeringly, and make you
ound you tell you that time will heal all wounds, or that atient - when all you really want is for the abuse to stop. ment today? How many women are being advised to be of the children? How many are being told to be careful om angering him, to pray, to go to church, to write in a right in the sight of God, to make pujas?
How many women are-in addition to the beating up by taking blame and responsibility for a wro with them their lifelong? ...)
Being a young single mother in this country has thing a single woman, or a single mother faces morning and I know the day is my own, that th
my own, that the decisions I make are my own,
These two narratives offer a stark contrast to the described in the preceding pages and maybe descri are speaking up on their own behalf (Foucault 199 physical pain and emotional trauma, the constant shame and the humiliation carried by the victimhowever stop there. It also refers to life after do position to that of submissive wife; that of a happ
While this discourse of the victim-survivor is clea definitions of femininity and its social constitution: dominant discourses, at the level of the individual su forms of knowledge or where such alternatives : discourses and gradually increasing their social pow their silence and speak publicly about their experier difficult to sustain the public discourse that trivialisc
The PDVA underlines that even a state as deeply c and does respond to feminist demands for legal r differing discourses on domestic violence of wo leaders respectively, were in competition with eac dragged domestic violence out of the confines
discussions of the NGO draft, as Samuel observe
At the community level, and everywhere we wen
they were experiencing in their homes and the n
48 See Sri Lanka 16 Days Campaign Blog at http://srilanka16days.W
blogs at http://kataclysmichaos. tumblr.com/. Since then an edited read citizens journalism website using a range of genres and med art, literature, and other issues. See http:llgroundviews.org/2012C the role of new media interactive communication technologies (IC
49 Interview with Kumi Samuel.
Only Until the Rice is Cooked?
they are getting from their husbands, beating themselves ng that is not theirs? How many women carry this guilt
't been easy. ... I have come to realize that the hardest s social stigmatization. And yet, when I wake up in the 2 goals I have set are my own, that all achievements are
and that my son is my own, I am happy."
: dominant public discourse on domestic violence bed as reverse discourses, wherein victim-survivors '0). The latter narrative, in particular, highlights the
fear, the sense of hopelessness and isolation, the survivor far beyond the act of violence. It doesn't omestic violence’ and offers an alternative subject
ly albeit single mother.
rly marginal to or in direct conflict with dominant and regulation, Weedon argues that this resistance to bject is the first stage in the production of alternative already exist, of winning individuals over to these er (1997: 107-108). As more and more women break ce of domestic violence, it will become increasingly
es and justifies such violence.
‘mbedded in patriarchal structures as Sri Lanka can eform. Its negotiation was a site of struggle where men's organisations, the bureaucracy and political h other, vying for the status of truth. The process of the home and into the public sphere. During d:
, women would stand up and just talk about the violence
eed to do something about it.”
Ordpress.com/2011/11/29/guest-post-roel-tells-her-story. Roel Raymond Iersion of this blog was published on Groundviews which is a widely a to highlight alternative perspectives on governance, human rights, 1/04/violence-against-women-this-is-my-storyl. These blogs highlight Ts) in validating and giving voice to Women's experiences.
ICES Working Paper Series
Moreover, women's groups engaged health and le
Six years after its enactment, the PDVA is a reme violence and not extensively used, even though an ir surrounding such violence both within institution any analysis of the impact of the PDVA that is missing the larger point-that the PDVA continue to talk not so much about sex, love and truth as F. but certainly about patriarchal privilege, the sancti and the 'meaning of domestic violence.
As this paper has attempted to highlight, this stru seeking to trivialize and condone domestic violent social order. The President, no less, has spoken hi rendering it a matter of high politics-recall hi quoted earlier. There is no doubt that this discou has great status given the state, institutional and m side-line other discourses. Nevertheless, they can r 'subjugated knowledges' of women victim-survivo who support them. As Kabeer points out the em about what was previously unquestioned implies 46). The inevitable contestation between these di and acting not just in relation to domestic violence gender equality in general.
gal professionals, academics and the media on the
dy of last resort for victim-survivors of domestic creasing number of women are breaking the silence al settings and in the public sphere. Nevertheless, restricted to the number of cases filed would be es to be an important discursive “space of struggle erraro suggests in the quote this paper opens with, ty of the family, women's health, children's welfare
ggle is reflected in a dominant discourse which is ce, while constructing the PDVA as a threat to the is mind on the matter on more than one occasion, is dire expressions of concern regarding the Act ise, championed by politicians and public officials, edia sanction behind it, which also enables them to never entirely eliminate from the public sphere, the rs of domestic violence and women's organisations ergence of discourse, of opinions and arguments
the co-existence of 'competing possibles' (2000: iscourses will be central to new ways of thinking : in Sri Lanka, but to advancing women's rights and
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This paper maps Contemporary discourses on domesti
Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 2005 (PDVA)
discourses on domestic violence, were in Competition
final Act privileged a politico-bureaucratic underst
nevertheless a significant departure from the status
enactment, the Act is a remedy of last resort for wome
discourse on domestic violence Still perceives it as at
to it during its passage through Parliament. Arguing t
the prevalence of domestic violence but by the tenden
familial ideology, Cultural narratives and 'common sens
discourse signals the Co-existence of 'Competing pc
discursive space for Speaking about domestic violence
of victim-survivors and Women's rights advocacy.
This paper draws on the findings of a quantitative ma
International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) between
of experts including activists, lawyers, and public offi
around the PDVA and in-depth interviews with someo
steering the PDVA through Parliament.
Chulani Kodikara is a Research ASSociate at ICES.
Related Publication: An Exploratory Mapping of Domestic V.
Kodikara with Thiagi Piyadasa, 2012
This publication is supported by Women Defining Peace (
Women Defining Peace
Women Defining Peace (WDP) is a project funded by the Car International Development Agency (CIDA) and implemented consortium of World University Service of Canada (WUSC), Co international and Match international Centre.
le Canadian International Agence Canadienne de Development Agency développement Interna
c violence in Sri Lanka, especially in connection with the
. Its negotiation was a site of Struggle where differing
with each other, vying for the status of truth. While the
anding of violence rather than a feminist one, it is
quo on familial violence. More than six years after its
an victim-survivors of domestic violence. Yet, the official
nreat to the existing Social Order, echoing the resistance
hat this discourse is marked not So much by a denial of
cy to normalise and legitimise it, the paper explores how
e' are being deployed to this end. The emergence of this
Ssibles' and the PDVA Continues to be an important
in Sri Lanka, which is Crucial to strengthening the voices
apping of domestic violence services conducted by the
2009-2011, which also included meetings with a range
Cials. In addition, it draws on the Parliamentary debate
f the key actors who played a pivotal role in shaping and
iolence Intervention Services in Sri Lanka: 2009-2011, Chulani
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