Why Systematic Rape of Tamil Women Never Occurred: Very High Prevalence of AIDS and Other STIs in War Torn North
Posted on April 15th, 2017
Security forces personnel were warned by the hierarchy well in advance not to engage in any sexual activity including consensual sexual activity with Tamil women in Jaffna, Batticaloa and especially Vanni. This is because of feared very high prevalence of AIDS and other STIs among them. AIDS scare hit Sri Lanka in the mid 1980s. Until then it was unknown. As other STIs were not fatal, the government didn’t invest anything for their prevention until then. With AIDS awareness, government funded a spirited awareness and prevention campaign of AIDS and other STIs in late 1980s. However, these could not be carried out in the north as the government was not in control.
Although hospitals could have carried out limited awareness programs, due to extreme sensitivity of sexual matters in ultra conservative Hindu societies of the north and east, that too was not received well in those areas.
Media was not accessible in the north. LTTE and IPKF didn’t allow printed media from Colombo. Radio and TV transmissions were disrupted by the destruction of the relay station in Kokilai by Tamil terrorists.
As a result the anti-STI campaign never reached the north and parts of the east.
Tamil terrorists used Tamil women as prostitutes to bribe and sell their narrative to western media and NGOs. Most of these activists that accepted these favours had been to other conflict areas in Africa and elsewhere with no awareness of STIs and with high prevalence. This also added to the STI burden in the north and east. Due to the long war, injury and blood transfusion medicine took priority. STIs were the last of the worries of people in war affected north and parts of the east. As a result, STI prevalence rose even higher.
Due to these reasons, security forces personnel were told in no uncertain terms not to engage in sexual activity with Tamil women from the north and the east. If anyone contravened that advice and engaged in sexual activity that was done against instructions and cannot be a systematic crime. It is only an individual crime.
Therefore it is nonsensical to blame the Sri Lankan army for sexual offences against Tamils. If anyone did so, that was done against clear instructions not to do so as STI prevalence was thought to be very high in the north and east Tamil community due to the absence of STI awareness programs among them. Obviously Tamils making these allegations don’t want to admit these facts.
(The writer is a defence expert specialising in Violent Extremist Organizations.)