‘Running’ to change perceptions on domestic violence

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PETALING JAYA: In a bid to change perceptions about the root cause of domestic violence against women, the All Women’s Action Society (Awam) will hold its White Ribbon Run for the fourth year in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission in Malaysia.

Awam training adviser Betty Yeoh said the run was first introduced here to change society’s perception that men were solely to blame for domestic violence against women.

“So, we figured that this perception is wrong. Men are part of the solution to end violence against women,” she said to reporters during a press conference.

“Domestic violence is a manifestation of gender inequality,” she said, in pointing out that this in fact was the root cause of why women were mistreated in the home.

Former president of Awam Judith Loh-Koh, meanwhile said the White Ribbon Run was sparked off after the 1991 Montreal massacre in Canada in which 14 women were murdered by a gunman for being “feminists.”

Following the incident, a group of young men decided to wear white ribbons as a symbol of men’s opposition to men’s violence against women, she said.

The Canadian High Commission Political Counsellor Timothy Mackey said that ending violence against women has been his country’s priority for a long time.

“The commission is extremely happy to partner with Awam this year and to work towards ending all forms of discrimination against women.”

“I urge all Malaysian men and boys to join us in this pledge to end violence against women.”

The run will take place on Nov 27 at Desapark City, Loh said, adding that Awam was targeting to attract 2,500 participants.

“Over the past three years, Awam has brought together over 6,000 participants to break the silence on domestic violence.

“We believe that men and boys play a vital role in putting an end to violence against women.”

Based on 2014 statistics by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), 2,349 cases of rape and 4,807 cases of domestic violence were reported nationwide.

Cases of domestic violence in 2015 exceeded 5,000 in number although conviction rates dropped from 358 in 2014 to 145 in 2015.