People are majorly concerned about the spate of rape and sexual abuse stories in the news. While many are calling for the death penalty, killing offenders isn’t an effective solution. If we put heads on stakes and the social problems remain, you haven’t really solved the problem. Plus Sri Lanka doesn’t have the ability to carry out death sentences and I don’t think rape or child abuse are generally capital offenses.
But anyways. Enough hot air is expended calling for the death penalty rather than actually addressing the deeper social issues within our communities and homes. Rape and child abuse happens not cause offenders know they won’t be executed, it happens because of a culture that tolerates abuse, makes justice difficult for victims and doesn’t talk openly about an embarrassing problem. One major, fixable problem is that sexual harassment is rampant and tolerated in public spaces, especially buses.
That’s why initiatives like Show You Care (video above) are so effective. I wrote about the SHOW movement before, and they’ve gone and done it. Under the aegis of Sri Lanka Unites, young people visited over 1,000 buses, reaching over 30,000 commuters. As you can see above, they apologized for any instances of abuse in the past and made publicly clear that this isn’t right and that Sri Lankans need to stand up for each other.
The young men, apologized to women in the buses for any harassment they have encountered in the past, providing them with information on legal recourse available to them if they experience such treatment in the future. Next they charged the men to take the responsibility to safeguard this right and the negative reflection on them, if they fail. The response from the commuters on buses was astounding. Passengers on the buses, both male and female, were very responsive to the campaign. Many encouraged the efforts of the young men, asked for more information about the campaign and Sri Lanka Unites. The passengers were eager to engage in conversations regarding the issue of harassment on public transportation and were heartened by the efforts of the young men to attempt to resolve this problem in the city of Colombo. (SHOW You Care Report)
Rape and child abuse are real problems in our society, but the government killing people is a medieval solution. Which doesn’t really work. A truly effective solution looks more like SHOW, where people stand up and take responsibility for protecting each other before abuse happens, not killing abusers after the damage is already done.