Stigma is a barrier to social inclusivity, propagated by narrow mindedness, negative thinking, prejudice and stereotypes. It is a highly limiting factor that affects individuals from all backgrounds. Globally, harmful social norms, gender stereotypes, power imbalances, perceived need to control female sexuality and other inequalities make accessing information and services challenging, if not impossible for women, especially adolescent girls.
In Malaysia, fear and shame around abortion and contraception is very prominent.
Fear and shame prevent many women from accessing safe and affordable services, with detrimental consequences to themselves and society.
Risk of unwanted pregnancies run high in Malaysia as there is no Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) or contraceptive counselling available to the general public. Instead, the Malaysian school curriculum is a proponent of abstinence only education, which does not provide information on consensual safe sex, the importance of contraception and what to do in case of an unwanted pregnancy. By withholding crucial practical knowledge on SRHR, teenagers and adults alike are forced to turn to the internet, and this could expose them to false information.
Many doctors providing safe, affordable and women-friendly services are reluctant to share this information in fear of stigma against abortion providers. If you know of a safe abortion service provider, we can reach out to them to include them in our referral list, with their permission.
Care providers and first responders play a vital role in overcoming such barriers. It is important that they accord the issue the sensitivity it requires, and participate in developing strategy to support positive attitudes and provide a welcoming environment for persons seeking sexual and reproductive health services.
We appreciate your feedback. If you have received services through the RRAAM provider network, please feel free to share your story with us through WhatsApp. Your personal data will not be recorded and your identity will remain anonymous