Violence is a vicious cycle and violence begets violence. There should be no excuse to perpetuate violence and every effort must be made to eliminate violence. 25 Nov was International Day for the elimination of violence against women.
In cultures that see no wrong in violence towards women, physical and sexual violence are practiced to subdue women. These women are silenced and victimised by the society to withstand the abuse and are expected to allow these torment to continue as a form of subservience and obedience towards men. This form of ‘accepted punishment’ is derogatory and psychologically damaging.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 3 out of 10 women experience violence by an intimate partner at some point during their lifetime, and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime. The UNDP also reveals that in more than 35 countries worldwide, marital rape is not considered a criminal offence.
In Malaysia, 35,684 cases of domestic violence were reported nationwide during 2000 to 2010, of which 3,255 cases originated from Penang.
Of these reported cases, only 4% were brought to court and an estimated 45% of the accused aggressors were acquitted, indicating that there is insufficient mechanism to discourage domestic violence.
Chong Eng, through her portfolio in the Penang state government as Chairman of Youth and Sports, Women’s Development, Family and Community together with the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) held an event at Prangin Mall in Georgetown in conjuction with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women yesterday. The event marks the first day of a 16-day campaign against gender-based violence.
Chong Eng delivered her speech to an audience that largely comprised of civil activists and members of the public. Penang State elected representatives like Teh Lai Heng, Dr. Afif Bahardin and Lim Siew Khim were also present to support the event. A number of men were also spotted among those present. Non-Governmental Organisations that turned up include Pusat Kesedaran Wanita (WCC Penang), Pusat Perkhidmatan Wanita (PPW) and Soroptimist International Club of Penang.
“There are many ways men can help to end violence against women,” said Chong Eng.
She also urged men to take the initiative to understand the issue of violence against women and to also volunteer in women-friendly organisations.
While Penangites may be enthusiastic and eager to spread awareness against domestic violence, the actual catalysts for change are the women themselves. As Dr. Afif said in his speech, all religions do not support violence against women - citing verses both from the Quran and Bible.
Distressed women may seek confidential help at the Women’s Centre for Change 04-2280342 or email@example.com.