The Kaduwela Magistrate court has issued a historic ruling ordering protection for a lesbian woman from her abusive parents. This is the first time such an order has been granted for a matter of this kind.
The woman is a victim of severe abuse, where for weeks her parents kept her unlawfully imprisoned at home because of her sexual orientation. Following her incarceration, her parents went on to assist the Welisara Mahabage police in attempting to prosecute her for being a lesbian.
The police also attempted to conduct a psychiatric assessment of the woman because of her sexual orientation and to subject her to physical examinations to find evidence of her homosexuality, lawyers said.
There is documented evidence that police officers and Judicial Medical Officers have conducted forced anal and vaginal examinations on LGBT+ people in order to find “evidence” of homosexuality in prosecutions, lawyers said.
Attorney at Law Shevindri Manuel, working for legal pro bono organization iProbono together with a legal team including President’s Counsel Dilrukshi Wickremasinghe, Erandhi Abeynayake, Jerusha Crossette Thambiah, Dilumi De Alwis and Thishya Weragoda, successfully defended the woman at the Welisara Magistrate’s Court by arguing that homosexuality was neither a crime nor a mental illness and had the case dismissed.
After the dismissal, the woman had moved to a safe location with her partner. However, she continued to be harassed by her parents. To protect herself from further abuse from her parents, the woman sought protection. An Interim Order was granted under the Act together with another order to her parents requiring them to release all her personal belongings, educational certificates and identity documents.
The victim’s lawyer for the protection order, Jerusha Crossette Thambiah, working together with legal pro bono organisation iProbono, have now sought a permanent protection order against her family.
Equality Director at iProbono, Aritha Wickramasinghe welcomed the Magistrate’s interim order and said that it is evidence of “evolving legal jurisprudence in Sri Lanka on the protection of the rights and safety of the LGBT+ community.”