Women's Health

Thoughts on the Alcohol Ban for Women

Jan 25 2018 (The Sunday Times - Sri Lanka) - “A majority of the country has criticised the decision to lift the ban arguing it would destroy family culture by getting more women addicted to alcohol”

Oh yes, this country is a perfect mould of ethics and morality. This was only the cherry on top. What’s destroying the family culture is not women going out for a drink to cope up with the stress this country throws at them on a daily basis but the 70% cases of domestic violence and cases of marital rape that go unheard of, where the women have no say because alas, Sri Lanka is so morally and ethically articulate that we didn’t have laws against domestic violence until 2005 and we still don’t have laws against marital rape.

It’s a country where only 1% of domestic abuse cases go reported due to the encouraging pat-on- the-backs women receive when trying to be open about the abuse, telling them “gedara gini eliyata daana epa” a country where a woman can’t walk outdoors without getting cat called or worse, a country where women are silenced and portrayed as the dutiful submissive role in this family role-play while men are given the privilege to use alcohol and substance abuse as an excuse for their unruly and violent behaviour with their spouse.

A country where women are constantly judged, criticised, hated and judged again for every single miniscule thing they do be it wearing what they feel comfortable in or sitting in a particular position. All this discrimination and hatred against women amidst the hypocritical movements of encouraging female empowerment and employment while at the end of the day even their right to decide whether or not they trust themselves enough to take a pint is taken away.

Imposing this law 40 years ago may have been justifiable due to the fact that old times were careers of old fashioned, women oppressing and discriminatory notions anyway. However re-imposing the law in the name of prevention of the destruction of family culture is such a disappointing joke which screams the fact that the Sri Lankan government is a sexist old man that encourages women to remain sober in their homes, cooking and looking after the children while having no regard for whatever men do. People may believe that women have more rights to win before the right to drink a swig of beer but the truth is, if we don’t stand up against such deliberate, unashamed acts which continue to discriminate women, we have little to say when it comes to large scale problems.

On a different note, this is not about the alcohol ban at all. No, this is about the blatant sexism displayed by the leaders of our nation which should not be tolerated. We can live without liquor but we refuse to live with that. If you’re honestly concerned about the ethical and moral state of the country, dear government, you might as well ban alcohol for everyone, men and women alike because, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re all human desperately trying to find a spot of freedom at the end of the day after all the bad businesses life puts all of us through. This being a major one, excuse me while I go ahead and drink my worries out because if men are allowed to do that, what do I lack or have more for you to say I can’t?

This story was originally published by The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka

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