Tamil women in the north and east of Sri Lanka live a bleak life in which they are severely constrained by the dual evils of the aftermath of the civil war, fought between the Government and the Tamil Tigers, and by a serious and crucial lack of capacity building efforts to help them cope and rebuild their lives.
The plight of these women are set out in a report titled. ‘Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East‘, published by the International Crisis Group on 20 December 2011. The report states that these women are powerless in the face of economic depravity, suffer from sexual abuse and are marginalised because their needs are not recognised at multiple levels.
Sri Lanka is a patriarchal society and many women are disadvantaged from having lost their husbands in the war. Their employment opportunities are limited and many cannot even afford to pay for food for their families. The catalogue of degradation makes for harrowing reading. Women have been forced into prostitution or coercive sexual relationship. Some have been trafficked. Such is the fear of sexual violation that females are too scared to go to school/college or seek employment.
Highly significantly the report states that: ‘..is the government willing and able to hold accountable those responsible for alleged crimes? To date it has failed to demonstrate that it is.’