Violence Against Women and Girls

Adolescent girls and women currently stand to experience higher risk of sexual violence and abuse, including from a family member or an intimate partner, current or former.

Approximately 150 million girls under the age of 18 are estimated to have experienced some form of sexual violence.

The problem is exacerbated by factors such as geography (i.e. women and girls living in conflict zones) and economic power (i.e. vulnerable poor in marginalised communities).

Judgemental attitudes and lack of empathy of health professionals for women whose rights have already been violated act as an obstacle to women trying to access an abortion.

Intimate Partner Violence

The recent period of restricted movement saw a surge in the number of reported cases of domestic violence worldwide, prompting governments to step up emergency measures to protect those under attack.

The traumatic weapons used by perpetrators range from mental, physical, sexual, and financial assault.  

In Malaysia, statistics about domestic abuse take into account only married couples. Excluding the narratives of unmarried women goes to cause great harm as the severity of the violence inflicted is not considered with proper proportion.

Sexual Assault

Up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under age 16.

In 2006, there were 2,431 reports of rapes compared to 1,479 in 2003 (statistics, Royal Malaysian Police).

Globally, only 10% of all rape incidents are reported due to stigma and fear. Marital rape is usually not acknowledged as rape. Actual rape occurrence are much higher. .

Although emergency contraception (Postinor) is available from private health sector doctors and pharmacies, it is not widely known nor used to prevent unwanted pregnancies..

A 2007 RRAAM survey of doctors and nurses found that in response to the question “What do you think women who are pregnant due to rape should consider doing?” 38% said that women should continue the pregnancy and either keep the child or give it up for adoption rather than having an abortion.

Examples of women’s rights violations:

Subjecting women’s access to services to third party authorization (permission of male spouse/relatives)

Denial of access to, or poor quality, services that only women require

Procedures related to women’s reproductive and sexual health without consent, including forced sterilization, forced virginity examinations, and forced abortion

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Forced marriage

Women and girls deserve

the freedom to live without fear of becoming victim to sexual violence. The patriarchal nature of many societies around the world prevent us from freely occupying certain physical and digital spaces. Empowering women to stand up for themselves, and to take up space is a pivotal aspect of reclaiming women’s rights and it is the responsibility of all persons, regardless of gender, race or economic status.

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