The Penang State Government has launched a historic three-week state-wide campaign against Violence Against Women (VAW) to raise awareness about preventing violence against women and girls. This is the first state-sponsored event of its kind organised by the Penang State Executive Council for Women, Family and Community Development, and the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC).
The campaign named ‘Penang Goes Orange 2014’ kicks off on 23 November and will run until 10 December with various community activities, including a program at the George Town Literary Festival on 28 November. It is also in line with the international “16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence” campaign.
The official Penang Goes Orange 2014 campaign launch will be held at Queensbay Mall on 25 November, from 6pm to 10pm. According to State EXCO and Padang Lalang Assemblyperson Chong Eng, the campaign takes its inspiration from the United Nation’s designated “Orange Day” which is designated on the 25th of every month to highlight the issue of gender violence.
“It is important for us to understand and accept that violence against women is not just a personal problem. It is a public problem, a Malaysian problem and a Penang problem.
“Violence against women destroys lives, damages families, costs millions of ringgit in healthcare and the economy, and hurts the progress of society,” she said.
Chong Eng said that a total of 4,025 domestic violence cases were reported in Penang from 2000 to 2013. This included 117 rape cases and 90 outrage of modesty cases. Researchers believe many abuse cases are unreported due to social stigma and cultural barriers which favor men. Gender inequality has been pointed out as the root cause of violence against women.
In some cases, action is not taken until it is too late. In August 2013, Madam Lai Siew Fong was burnt to death in Bukit Mertajam, she suffered 70% burns on her body and was battling against her wounds for 40 days in the Penang Hospital. She left behind two sons, who were only 6 and 10 years old. This cruel act was allegedly committed by her husband.
“Malaysia cannot be a developed nation if we believe that it is normal and acceptable to physically, emotionally and mentally abuse our wives, sisters, daughters and friends,” Chong said.
All Malaysians are invited to show their support by participating in the activities during the Penang Goes Orange campaign. The aim of this campaign is to promote women’s and human rights and to eliminate violence against women.
This campaign is organised in collaboration with Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), Child Rising, Young Women Making Change Collective formed under IWRAW AP, Penang Chinese Town Hall, Penang schools, and other civil society organisations.
More information can be found at http://www.pwdc.org.my. -The Rocket