Monday, January 26, 2009


In this section:
What Is Violence Against Women?
Forms of Violence Against Women
What can I do to help a victim of domestic violence?
What can I do as a victim of domestic violence to help myself?
What can I do if I have been raped?
What can I do if I am a victim of sexual harassment?


Violence against women is about power and control.

  • Violence against women is a chosen action against a woman or girl child
    simply because of her gender, simply because she is female.

  • Violence against women cuts across race, religion, income, class and

  • Violence Against Women is deeply embedded in all cultures, so
    much so that millions of women consider it a way of life.

Violence against a woman is a crime, and a violation of her human rights.

Men must be held responsible for their violence.

Of course
not all men are abusive, but overwhelmingly, men are the abusers and
women are the victims. Men make the choice how they let out their
aggressions and upon who:

  • most
    often, men who beat their wives do not hit their bosses, colleagues or
    male friends. Men batter because they feel they have the right to or
    think that their feelings are superior to a woman's;

  • rape is not an
    "over-spill" of sexual energy. It is not an impulsive crime. A high
    percentage of rapists are "friends" and relatives. Rape is not prompted
    by provocative dress. Many teenagers in uniform have been raped.

No woman deserves violence, ever!


Violence against Women is not restricted to physical abuse.

Psychological and emotional abuse

Threats, insults and put-downs can be just as damaging as physical
abuse because they endanger a woman's feelingsof self-worth and her
ability to control her own life.

Social abuse

form of abuse occurs most frequently in a domestic situation where a
woman is kept totally dependent on her partner and isolated from the
support of others.

Financial abuse

A woman who is prevented from seeking employment, or who is not
allowed to have a bank account or keep any of her income suffers
financial abuse. Having no control of money keeps a woman totally
dependent and at the whim of others, even for her basic needs.

Sexual abuse

Being forced to do or watch something sexual without the woman's
consent, or to have pain inflicted on a woman during a sexual act can
constitute sexual abuse.

Physical abuse

Hitting, punching, slapping, biting, kicking, bruising, breaking
bones, throwing things and using weapons are obvious examples of
physical abuse. The denial of human needs, such as food, water, sleep
and even shelter are also forms of physical abuse.

Domestic Violence

violence is an abuse of power. It is when one partner usually a
boyfriend or husband attempts to control and dominate the other,
usually a girlfriend or wife through violence, threat of violence, or
by controlling the couple's finances and social life.

The Cycle of Violence Theory

The build up – tension rises.
Stand over phase – the man becomes threatening.
The explosion – the violence occurs.
The remorse phase – the man is apologetic and promises never to do it again.
The pursuit – the man attempts to win the woman back by promising to change.
The honeymoon – things are calm and perhaps even loving.
The build up – tension begins to rise again.

What can I do to help a victim of domestic violence?

  • As a friend, let her know she is not alone. Battered women feel they
    don't have anyone to talk to. Speak openly with her about your suspicions and encourage her to talk.

  • Be a telephone buddy. Women are often isolated and are not allowed to go out.

  • Read and collect brochures and information to pass on to her. Talk to others. The more
    you know about this problem the more you can offer to someone in need.

  • Talk with her about options and help her plan for crisis.

  • Show belief in her ability to cope with change.

  • Support her no matter what she decides to do.

  • Provide a place for her and the children to stay for an
    afternoon or evening during tense times.

  • Provide transportation to shelter and safe homes.

  • Baby sit while she goes to lawyers or court, looks for housing, employment, etc.

  • Go to court and take notes and provide support.

  • Help her find housing.

  • Help her on moving day, either from her house, or from a shelter to a new home.

  • Call the police if you hear a neighbor being battered.

What can I do as a victim of domestic violence to help myself?


  • Make a plan of what to and where to go if you are in danger. Tell your
    children of your plan if they are old enough to understand.

  • Take your children with you if you can. If you must leave them temporarily, make
    sure they can join you as soon as possible. See a lawyer as soon as
    possible about custody.

  • Whatever your vehicle, make sure it has petrol.

  • Keep an extra set of keys and emergency numbers in a secret hiding place.

  • Always keep some money hidden to help you get away.

  • Take identification, important papers and necessary medication for you
    and your children.

  • Keep a list of important phone numbers in the hiding place with your money.

  • Work out a code word that can be used on the phone with someone you trust if you are in danger.

Rape and Sexual Assault

Rape and
sexual assault use sex as the weapon. Legally, rape is limited to the
insertion of the penis into your vagina against your will. If you are
under 16 years of age sex with or without your consent is statutory
rape. Sexual assault includes forced anal sex, insertion of objects
into your vagina, mouth or anus.

What can I do if I have been raped?

If you are raped:

  • Do not wash. Although your first instinct may be to clean yourself,
    do not wash. Go to the hospital immediately for a medical examination.
    There may be seminal and body fluids, mud, debris, fibers, hairs that
    provide important evidence.

  • Go to the Emergency Room at the government hospital. The doctor will examine you and your genital area, as well as your clothes. You will also be asked to first fill out a
    form to give approval of the examination, and that the information will
    be used for police investigation. You may request a female gynecologist
    if you are uncomfortable with a male doctor. Hospital staff will also
    notify the police. A female officer will take your report at the

  • If you go to the police first, a female police officer will
    accompany you take your report and accompany you to the hospital. After
    the first report, a detailed statement will be taken. You may be
    required to attend an identification parade to identify the alleged

  • Contact a Women's NGO. You may want counseling and support.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace refers to sexual conduct that is unwanted, unwelcome, or unsolicited.

What can I do if I am a victim of sexual harassment?

  • Tell the harasser that his behavior is unwelcome and that you want it to
    stop. Say it firmly so the harasser knows you mean business!

  • If the harasser continues, talk to someone in your organisation who could help
    ; i.e., personnel officer or sexual harassment counselor,
    employee/union representative.

  • Record the details of each event:
    date, time, location, what happened, what was said, how you felt, and
    the names of any witnesses or others victimized by this person.

  • You can write a letter to the offender, including description, date and time
    of unwelcome behavior, clear statement you want the behavior to stop,
    and warning of further action for noncompliance. Add your signature and


  • Your manager or supervisor harassing you: speak to someone more
    , to your personnel officer and union representative. OR seek
    help from the: Labor Ministry, organizations that will provide
    counseling and assistance.

Employer's Responsibility
It is the employer's responsibility to ensure a harassment-free
workplace. The Ministry of Human Affairs has prepared and issued a Code
of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
containing in-house guideline

Women's Aid Organisation
Pertubuhan Pertolongan Wanita
P.O. Box 493 Jalan Sultan
46760 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel. +60 3 7956 3488
Fax. +60 3 7956 3237


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