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I have never been more honoured to be a Sri Lankan woman than I am today.

You might find that ironic. In the last 365 days alone, we’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary.

Schools attempted to enforce a maternal dress code, I watched a group of men concur on my right to an abortion, had my President reiterate my inability to purchase alcohol and a city gym let me know what kind of body I shouldn’t be having.

For each of these acts however, equally powerful voices have risen. As women, we’ve managed to let misogynists know that we’re having none of it.

How can we not be proud, be honoured at the courage that defines many of the women that surround us today? We are women, we are loud, and we will not obey.

There are quieter voices among us, though – near-muted cries from places where battles once raged. In the North of Sri Lanka, women face issues that differ so much from our own that we sometimes forget that their needs are more immediate.

If I may, let me tell you about some of our Northern sisters, whose stories continue to haunt me.

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