freedom of expression Hate speech

Is sexual abuse of boys to be laughed at?

Ahsan Afthar

Child sexual abuse in Sri Lanka is nothing new. There are plenty of stories that school going students are abused by school teachers. But the story of a female teacher abusing a 15-year-old schoolboy last October turned out to be shocking news and became a matter of joke among many men.

The teacher (27 years old) who abused the boy was arrested by the Weligama Police. Many men who have commented on the matter have said that the boy was ‘lucky and fortunate enough’ as if it was a good thing that has been done to the boy, encouraging action of this kind. It’s funny that many men who posted on Facebook and Twitter expressing their regrets that they didn’t have a teacher like this when they went to school. 

When they see news of girls getting abused people just ignore it as something that usually happens. When boys are abused, without any hesitation, they come out with words that directly encourage it in this way. What is this mentality?

In this masculine world, this is the state of mind of many, dreaming that even the injustice done to boys is considered a matter of fortune and justified. In addition, the understanding of sex is centred on the morality of women and the power of men.

The public should be aware of and have the mentality that neither a man nor a woman can ever be subjected to sexual abuse.

There needs to be more and more emphasis on gender equality in a society that that takes sexual abuses as jokes and posts their opinions. Does this community have a cruel mindset that encourages or promotes abuse and violence of sexual nature? It’s a question everyone should ask themselves.

Would they have the same mentality of claiming their child to be fortunate and lucky in the event of such disasters had happened to their daughters? Would they appreciate those men who committed such a crime? They will never do that. Similarly, we need to get rid of this evil from the society irrespective of whether it has been committed against a female or a male. Otherwise male children will inevitably be more likely to be abused by men.

The minimum age for consent to engage in sexual intercourse in Sri Lanka is 16 years. So even if the teacher had got the consent of this boy, it would not have been an acceptable consent. Those who regret not having such a female teacher when they were students are the ones who incite crime and spread ideas that are complicit in it.

According to lecturer Aswini Fernando, boys are more likely to get sexually abused than girls and this matter goes unnoticed. She added that “boys, unlike girls, have no idea or fear of losing virginity, getting pregnancy; and the act of crime is neglected even when they are abused.

In the first six months of this year alone, 5242 children had been abused. Of these, 1642 cases were of sexual abuses. Voices and writings against children of any gender should be recorded in cases where they are sexually abused. If we find writings, articles, feedback, etc. that support them in some way, we should not hesitate to act against it.

We should not allow humorous comments written for the above like incident to come up again as feedback in any media. This is not a joke. Instead, we must first make it clear to them that this is a massive health and mental health issue. From now on, we need to pay more attention to boys when talking about sexual abuse.

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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

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