I am the mother of an eight year old girl who still likes to play with her Barbies. She doesn’t like to sleep alone. Like many other little girls, she likes to dabble with my make up and dress to impress.

I joined millions of other Sri Lankan mothers, sharing a grief that was theirs and mine,  when I saw the crumpled body of little Seya on prime TV. I felt violated when TV stations chose to show such macabre scenery ; not done in  civilized country. Come to think of it, there should be a ban on showing shocking images of bodies on media but we still haven’t gone there, it seems, despite all the talk about being civilized above all else.  Seya’s hour or two in the devil’s grip still evades me – I don’t want to even think about it. I’m sure no one does. Two little girls killed within a spate of a week – one along with her parents in Minuwangoda and the other, taken from her bed and sexually assaulted, her little body thrown in a ditch.

Now before we let ourselves loose on the emotional wagon hitched to demanding better laws, we need to address ourselves as mothers and fathers. Are we doing enough to make sure our children are safe – not in strange places but in our own homes and in our own personal spaces? Seya was taken from her bed – I wish her mother bothered enough to check the first time her father noticed the little girl was not on the bed, instead of assuming that she had gone to the grandmother’s room. We are mothers in charge of children whose very fate depends a lot on us – we cannot assume things. We need to always double check, always make sure the children are safe because one never knows when human beings can turn evil. And usually, the purveyors of such evil are among those closest to us.

Mothers and fathers need to be vigilant – parenting is a full time 24/7 job. It doesn’t stop when the kids grow up either. You need to be in the know, on the ball, connected to the daily rhythm of your children and generally be the eyes and ears all around. If you cannot, then you are not cut out for parenting in the 21st century. You need to get it into your system by default.

Sure, we need better laws. More importantly, we need better execution of existing laws – we need to upgrade the severity of punishment for crimes against children and women speedily, brought to a level of action, not just talk. We have heard a lot of talk but we need to be able to get things done – I certainly hope the new Minister in charge of Women’s & Children’s Affairs, Mrs Chandani Bandara will get started down that road.

We need to remember Seya – not now, but tomorrow and the next year. We know we forget a lot of things however sad, however appalling, when the story winds down. But we need to keep remembering so that somewhere in Sri Lanka, a little girl or a little boy will not face the same fate as her. We need to remember to lock our doors, check out strangers and pay more attention to what is happening around us.

When the perpetrator is found – I pray to God he will be – we need to make sure that as a society, we deal with such evil in a way that will deter others. We also need to have in place measures that will work towards minimizing sexual crimes ; a key step in this direction would be clamp down or restrict access to on porn sites ; Google recently bestowed upon us the infamous title of the country seeking the biggest slice of sex related material on line. We hope that the Good Governance Government will take the right steps in that direction.

We have too many lessons in the death of an angel to forget – it is my prayer and I know it is your prayer too ; may this be the last such tragedy we will hear about. RIP Seya – Sri Lanka weeps with your family..

12 thoughts on “When angels fall…

  1. hi Naomini,
    A wonderful write up and I agree with most of your views. However I think while we should educate mothers of being aware of where ours kids are at all times , we should not take on the role of judge, jury and the executioner of the victim’s mother’s parenting abilities ,because only God can do that and I’m quite certain He is hurting for the mother more than anyone else at this moment.
    Unless we have spent a day in her shoes we can’t really judge her for her lack of insight because we do not know what mental , physical , emotional state she was in.
    While we should rightfully feel appalled and outraged by this event , we should also say a collective prayer of healing for a woman who is a mother just like us and and is going through something we wouldn’t even wish on our enemies ..

    1. You are right Ayesha but in this instance and in the many instances when children have been victimized, as a mother, I truly believe that the mothers could have been a little vigilant, a little bit more concerned because that would have saved the lives of the children. My intention is not to judge mothers but to make every mother a little bit more vigilant than before.

  2. Agree with everything you write here, but you must also speak to the reality of how young men and boys are raised. There is a little bit of victim-blaming here. Parents do need to be vigilant, but all parents must also teach boys not to rape females, to practice utmost respect toward females of all ages and to respect themselves. We should never just accept that men do these things and we must change everything else to accommodate that sickness. No. Parents everywhere must have honest conversations about right sex and wrong sex, dignity and respect. And fully agree with you that our media should never show these kinds of graphic images on TV! It is the final and ultimate insult to the victims of this horrific tragedy.

    1. Thank you for raising a valid point – it is very true that we have a responsibility to raise sons to respect and care for the women in their lives and in society. Let’s hope things will change for the better in the future.

  3. As you sow, so shall you reap! During the 30 years war many little girls, women were raped and killed in the areas of northeast. Did anyone raise their voice for the voiceless???? I still remember a incident in 1983, when we were confined to welfare camp near Colombo i saw many Tamil ladies, who were raped by the mobs, crying, sobbing, weeping!!! I strongly believed that one side of the country’s people had given license to the perpetrators & criminals during the time of war & conflict. They culprits were given salutations and promotions. The human suffering was celebrated with cakes, milk rice and fireworks at many times. The media in the south always whitewashed the most heinous crimes. Now the crimes diverted to their own people!!! That’s what the country needs the accountability, reconciliation at one front. In the other its need reestablishment of law and order, rule of law and law abiding society!

  4. Thank your NayominiIt for your well written article. Media is playing a huge role in shaping a society and our media is just not being sensitive to the issue of rape. They need to pratice ethical reporting and a country needs to have a proper media policy regarding what images they show to people.

  5. An extremely well written piece Nayomini. Yes, we as mothers need to be much more vigilant. We need to know at all times where our kids are and that they are with responsible people. This could save our kids lives and will save us a lot of heartache.
    Sankadesilva also has a very valid point. We, as parents need to teach our sons to respect women (sadly, something very lacking in Sri Lankan society). Most of our men have been brought up to think that women are there to serve them, wait on them hand and foot and do whatever they are told without questioning. One thing that always upsets me whenever I’m in Sri Lanka is the ugly, sleazy way men look at women and girls and the snide remarks they like to cast. This has to stop and the only way it will happen is if we teach our sons to respect women.

  6. Quite rightly said through you excellent eye-opener. From my point of view, children lack spiritual exposure. They are after tuition classes also attracted to good rather than bad on the social & other media as well as when they mingle with bad company at school & elsewhere. Religions are not law to be followed but should be respected & adhered to, since every religious doctrine teaches love, care, tolerance, unity etc. But where is time for our children to pay attention to it? There again the parents’ responsibility stands tall. So please teach them humanity. To respect others, especially the women the way they love their mothers & sisters. Also Pl remember, it is one in 100000 who turns a devil or a predator. The rest have concern & have deep warmth for women as friends,mothers &/or sisters. They shed tears & relentlessly glued to the media to find the uncanny beast that poached on the innocent little angel. I personally feel harsh punishments – public beheading, or left in an open prison after making the ruthless animal blind, of course for him to repent suffer & die! Yet, I am not relented as a father of two loving children and both my wife & I keep hawk’s eyes on them; day & night; home or away; school or church; even during the times they need to answer the nature’s call; we are vigilant. We make sure they are with us now & always, always!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s