Press statement by ADUN for Kapayan, Jannie Lasimbang on 18 May 2021:
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, emerging reports have shown that all forms of violence against women, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault have intensified.
However, statistics may not always reveal this, as the biggest reason why domestic violence and sexual assault remain so prevalent today is because of silence, fear of reporting and ignorance of the victim to get support.
According to the Sabah Police Crime Investigation Department, the highest number of cases of domestic violence from 2018 to 2021 (January – April) was in:
- Kota Kinabalu district (175 cases).
- Penampang district (132 cases).
In terms of the total cases for domestic violence in Sabah, the number recorded per year are:
- 2018 – 407 cases.
- 2019 – 412 cases.
- 2020 – 357 cases.
- 2021 (January to April) – 112 cases.
Jannie Lasimbang, ADUN Kapayan, said the setting up of the Investigation Division on Sexual Crimes on Women and Children was important to ensure victims are getting justice.
Behaviours in a family or in a relationship that makes others feel controlled and fearful has negative effects, including the feeling of being unsafe and unnurtured.
Witnessing violence at home makes children anxious and fearful and it can affect their behaviours and brain development.
Often family members keep silent about domestic violence and sexual assault, because they are made to believe that they are at fault, are threatened or its a shameful incident.
Even survivors can find it difficult to talk about their stories due to feeling of shame and fear. There are people who take months even years to process what happened to them. It is not an easy topic to talk about and it needs to be encouraged. Awareness should be continue to be raised and work towards a safer society.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are not subjects to restorative justice. In every country, the justice system works differently, but until today, we still see problems with getting justice for those who have been sexually assaulted and domestically abused. Jannie asserted,
“We must strive to improve systems that can work strategically to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and the government should a play a coordinating role in dealing with this issue and strengthen social protection.”
Our society should also acknowledge the negative effects and the factors that continue to allow domestic violence and sexual assault, and put an end to these.