You Can Make A Difference Now (YCMADN): Reach Out and Help Them

Posted on 17 October 2011

 Reach out and help them

Call the cops if you know of violence and abuse victims, public told

You Can Make A Difference Now!

FOR A GOOD CAUSE: TV hosts and radio personalities lend their hand in a car wash to help raise funds for WAO to carry out its activities

PETALING JAYA: If you know someone who is being abused in your community, be it a family member, neighbour or friend, you should step in and help.

Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) chairman Ivy Josiah said the non-profit organisation handled about 1,500 distress calls from violence and abuse victims nationwide last year.

But the number could be a lot more.

"The victims can't always help themselves and most of them choose to keep quiet about it. Thus, we are unable to hear their pleas and offer help," she said.

Josiah said it was crucial to educate the public on this matter.

"Public education is important. When one encounters another being abused, one can make a difference by picking up the phone and calling the police."

She said a victim must first lodge a police report before WAO could intervene.

"Without a police report, it would be difficult for us to come and provide the necessary assistance."

Josiah said WAO provided shelter, counselling and support to victims through their refuge centre, child care centre (CCC) and the WAO Centre.

Since last year, 125 women and 100 children had been taking shelter at the refuge centre, and 18 children had been permanent residents of the CCC.

The CCC is a centre for the children of WAO's ex-residents who have decided to live independently. The children are given a home, education at local schools and a support system to meet their physical, mental and emotional needs.

To create public awareness on supporting abuse victims to come forward and lodge reports or attend counselling, the organisation yesterday launched a "You Can Make A Difference Now!" campaign.

The campaign aims to generate awareness through public service announcements on radio and television.

Also through the campaign, WAO hopes to raise another RM300,000 by the end of the year to add to the RM700,000 it has raised so far this year.

"The campaign's ultimate goal is to 'convert' the public into advocates, followed by a call of action to donate," said WAO president Mok Chuang Lian at the event.

"Violence against women has been going on for many years and it can happen to anyone, anywhere. The public needs to know how they can help and make a difference," she said.

'Some feel it's all right to be beaten'

SOME women feel it is all right to be abused by men.

This was the astonishing comment made by Tamil radio THR Raaga's DJ Anantha.

He said he has received calls from women on his show saying it is perfectly normal to be "slightly abused" by their husbands or boyfriends "as females are supposed to submit to them".

Anantha, a Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) ambassador who has broadcast talks and announcements on violence against women, said it was time to change this perception.

"I was shocked upon receiving such calls. Tamil movies might have an influence on the matter," he opined.

"We often see how Tamil movies depict women's roles. Too many times we encounter scenes where women are beaten or treated as inferiors."

Anantha said talks on women's aid saw the station getting some 10 calls daily from women affected by  violence.

WAO ambassador Marina Mahathir said awareness of women's rights in the country was still lacking. She hoped Parliament would soon pass the long-awaited Sexual Harassment Act to provide better protection to women.

"WAO, along with the All Women's Action Society Malaysia, is demanding and lobbying for the Act to be passed in Parliament,'' she said.

Another WAO ambassador, writer and TV personality Asha Gill, said parents played a vital role to prevent future abuse cases.

"Fathers, in particular, must be actively involved to ensure their young sons are instilled with good values on the treatment of women," she said.

Along with Mix FM radio host Serena C, the radio and TV personalities joined WAO supporters in washing two cars belonging to Malakoff Corporation Berhad. The company donated RM2,000 to help fund WAO's activities.


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