Monday, May 16, 2022

Most domestic, violence and rape cases involve non-drinkers

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: More than 60 per cent of domestic abuse, violence and rape cases involve teetotallers with no history of drug use or abuse.

Domestic violence and rape cut across all ages, races, religions and social backgrounds for which only knowledge and awareness can help eradicate the perceived imbalance of “power and control” dynamics which is the proven root cause to violence.

“Power and control” amount to 100 per cent of all root causes of reported domestic abuse, violence and rape occurring in Sarawak.

This was revealed at a joint press conference held by Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), local collaborator Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) and the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Sarawak (MWCWFC) at Wisma Masja yesterday.

The press conference was held to announce continued synergy between WAO, SWWS and the Ministry to root out domestic violence through a campaign of information decimation, training and discourse.

Deputising for the minister was Women, Family and Childhood Development Assistant Minister, Rosey Haji Yunus.

She announced that the ministry had held consultations with both WAO and SWWS.

“We will work together with SWWS locally to formulate a Sarawakian way forward in the matter and what we will be working towards is the prevalence of a “Safe Community”.

“There is no evidence to prove that that a particular race or religion or social status has a role play in the root reasoning for domestic violence and rape and its reporting or lack of,” explained Rosey.

Referring to instances from previous parliament sittings where references to race were made in correlation to rape statistics, she pointed out, “Basically reporting and the lack of it stems from a lack of knowledge to basic rights, the criminal justice system and the mechanisms that can help victims seek refuge and protection.”

Head of capacity building for WAO Melissa Akhir thanked the ministry and SWWS for their continued commitment to address these issues in Sarawak and revealed that in 2017, there were 565 reported cases of domestic abuse. Last year, there was a slight decrease with 494 reported cases.

“What WAO will do is work closely with the ministry and SWWS to ramp up our information decimation as a mode of preventive measures and we have agreed that the best mode to do this is through dialogues, seminars and workshops,” she said.

Melissa continued, “The victims must first have the knowledge to identify themselves as victims and next—they must recognise the danger of staying, and then they must know where to go, who to seek help from and what type of help they will get to escape sometimes very nightmarish scenarios that occasionally lead to murder.

“In that sphere, we will be looking at identifying safe spots and safe houses in more localities and these may include houses of worships and isolated homes in low density residences all around Sarawak.”

WAO, formed in 1982, provides free shelter, counselling and crisis support to women and children who experience abuse. Its work includes helping the women and children they rescue rebuild their lives, cope with surviving violence, rape, trafficking and other atrocities.

SWWS is based in Kuching and runs a drop-in centre (Tel: 0138044285) which gives awareness talks and operates on a session by session basis, a crisis phone line (082 442660): It can also be reached by email at sarswws@gmail and through the One Stop Crisis Centre in hospitals accessible via the Accident & Emergency Departments.

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