Casual Harassment of Young Women in Sri Lanka
Yesterday I took my two daughters (17 and 13) and two of their close friends (15 and 13) and went to Galle for the day.
We left Colombo around 10:30am and walked around Galle Fort (an awesome’s cool place built between 1584 and 1684) and had a great lunch at Minute by Tuk Tuk at the Dutch Hospital in the fort. After awesome ice cream from the Pedlar’s Inn we wanted to go check out Jungle Beach — a small hidden beach that you climb down to from the Rumassala Hill.
So we left the fort, drove thru town, turned right to Rumassala and drove up. I originally had planned to take the girls to see the Japanese Peace Pagoda there and to view the fort from that side but I forgot that we were all in shorts and that you can’t go to a temple dressed in shorts. OK scratch that.
We parked near the place where you walk down and started down. I noticed that there was a police post on top, which I thought was quite good as there were a lot of people. I felt instinctly that the cultural orientation of the people there was a bit different from that of young Sri Lankan girls wearing shorts. There were a few young men in Sinha-Le t-shirts too .. utter BS about that not being a racist movement.
Anyway it was a fun walk down. The beach was awesome — I even managed to get more soaked than I planned. It was very crowded and there were a lot of foreign tourists too clad in normal beachwear (swimming trunks/shorts or bikinis). It really is a super awesome hidden away beach. It’d be 10x better if it was less crowded and we were all imaging what it might have been when it was first discovered.
On the far side I saw there was a trail and groups of young men were walking on it. According to Google Maps it connects to the other half of the beach a short distance away.
Anyway we started to go back as we were done enjoying the cool water on a hot sunny day.
As we started I noticed a group of about 6 or so young men in their 20s ahead of us. I immediately regretted the bad timing of our start but decided to keep going.
A few minutes later these guys noticed that we were behind them and stopped to let us pass. Letting us pass was intentional for them. When we were passing I felt they were somewhat drunk — a very common condition for a group of young men at a beach in Sri Lanka unfortunately.
I was going behind the kids so they were now behind me. I put as much distance as possible between them and the kids.
Right thru the remaining part of the trip I could hear them making lewd comments about the girls. At one point I stopped and glared at them and they stopped for that time but started again as we went up. I thought of challenging them but there were too many of them and with them being a bit drunk I knew their immediate response would’ve been to take me on physically. I was there with 4 young girls who were under my care and I wasn’t going to get into a fight, despite how much I’d have enjoyed it.
I was getting pissed off with them but I was happy that the elder girls were now quite a bit ahead and most probably out of ear shot. The younger two were chatting so also probably not hearing the crap coming out of these bastard’s mouths.
Luckily it was a very short climb and these people were gone after that.
I felt utterly embarrassed to be a Sri Lankan male and worse as the girls’ father and uncle (in Sri Lanka any older friend is an uncle .. doesn’t have to be related). These guys could clearly see that these were young girls and no different from their sisters but they couldn’t care less.
I couldn’t find the police guy at the top when I got there but realized that its not a legal issue and that there’s nothing I could really do legally. They just need a damned good beating as that’s the only justice and lesson they’ll remember.
I wanted to write this to get young Sri Lankan men, especially in their young 20s, to understand that their group behavior is totally unacceptable. I know there are many such people who read my postings and I’m certain you guys act that way too when you get into your group of friends and you see some good looking girls go by. It is possibly innocent fun for you, but its not so fun for the girls to hear you say that crap.
Remember that every young girl is someone’s daughter, someone’s sister and someone who wants to live their life and have fun just as much as you do. If they wear shorts and go to the beach that does not give you the right to make disgusting comments to them.
Also remember that it is well known that IQ drops when you’re in a group. My theory is that the group IQ is the sum of the individuals’ IQ divided by the square of the number of people, especially for a bunch of testosterone-filled 20-something guys. If the guys had some alcohol the quotient becomes the CUBE of the number of people.
In other words, as the number of people gets bigger the IQ drops very fast. You just become total dumbasses.
While I’m 100% against the Mirissa Hotels that say “Foreigners Only” I can imagine what it must be like with a bunch of half drunk young men harassing tourists who are in their beachwear and who just came there to have some peaceful fun.
I know what I experienced and observed is a drop in the ocean on the kinds of casual harassment that young Sri Lankan men subject young women to.
If you’re a young man then set an example. Don’t ignore when others do something wrong. Don’t let group IQ dynamics degrade you down to depravity.
Stop being a jerk. Be human. One day you’ll be like me and will need to protect your daughters and her friends — next time I will be violently protective and then you’ll remember it for ever.
If you want to understand everyday abuse then read this superb comic in an article from the Huffington Post:
Also, its critical that you read this awesome blog by a young lady a few days ago: