Domestic violence at an all time high, say activist group

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Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight pic, December 9, 2017.

From t: Sumitra Visvanathan, executive director of Women’s Aid Organisation, Bernice Chauley, Chan Wen Li and Linda Iskandar at the book launch. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 9, 2017.

A WOMEN’S group is concerned about domestic violence which it says is at an all-time high.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) communications officer Tan Heang-Lee, said one reason for the increase is that women are more aware of their rights.

“According to Universiti Sains Malaysia, 9% of partnered women in Malaysia experience domestic violence,” she told The Malaysian Insight at the Tina WAO book launch.

In 2016 there were 5,796 cases, up from 3,173 in 2010.

Tan said WAO had received over 2,660 hotline calls, WhatsApp conversations and e-mails via Tina, a person “conceptualised as a victim of domestic violence, so women can relate more when calling in.”

“Initially she (Tina) was just a hotline. Tina stands for Think I Need Aid and began in 2013. That was when we started to conceptualise her as a person, and now as a book character,” Tan said.

WAO was launching Tina’s book: Tina’s Journey: a collection of words and poetry by survivors of domestic violence written by Bernice Chauley.

In it are artistic drawings, poems and a collection of words by survivors of domestic violence.

Chauley said she had wanted to help teach the women how to express themselves with WAO.

“I started in August 2015. I met different people for two years every Friday for two hours. We do exercises (that boosts their confidence).

“It is a vicious cycle of ‘I don’t know what to do’, they need to have the awareness to decide they need help,” Chauley said.

Linda Iskandar, a victim of domestic violence who was at the book launch, echoed Chauley.

“You have to learn to accept you are facing domestic violence. Moving on is only possible if you have accepted it. Otherwise you are in denial.

Linda urged victims to be brave and call the Tina hotline if they needed help.