Law enforcers downplay reports of online violence against women, report shows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

In their report, the groups said cases of online violence against women are pervasive here and happen in many forms from private messaging to public platforms. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — A recent report by local civil society groups to the United Nations (UN) revealed that law enforcers not only make light of online violence against women (VAW) as reported by victims, but also treat these incidents as “normal.”

The report explained that various laws already exist to deal with such cases, but law enforcers are often ignorant about them and fail to understand that online VAW can be as harmful as physical cases.

“Anecdotal cases have shown that where women did report instances of online VAW, their experiences are often trivialised and normalised. The failure of the police officer to recognise online threats and harassment as VAW or even as crimes under the domestic laws, affects women’s access to justice in a systematic way.

“Responses by police officers were either dismissive or condescending. Oftentimes the police would tell the victim that there is nothing they could do as it is a ‘private affair’ or that the victim should just delete his/her account,” read the joint submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW.

The report was compiled by Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Bersih 2.0, Justice for Sisters, Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, National Council of Women’s Organisations, Malaysia, and Women’s Aid Organisation. Read more