Cases of domestic violence has been on the rise and Malaysia has recorded about 9,000 cases since the Movement Control Order (MCO) started in Malaysia.
In an effort to reduce the impact of domestic violence, the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) has released a TikTok video demonstrating how to use the simple sign language as a secret call for help when you are in trouble.
The short video showed 2 women in a casual conversation when one of them cautiously showed a hand gesture to the other person, implying that she needs help.
The hand gesture is the signal for help from domestic violence that is getting viral globally with people creating awareness about it and demonstrating how to use them in public.
The signal was introduced by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in April 2020 after they recorded an increase in cases of domestic violence during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
It is used to signify “Violence at home”, “I need help”, and “domestic violence”.
The hand gesture is a simple one-handed sign that can be used in a video call or in a distressed situation where you can get the rescuer’s attention easily without the perpetrator noticing.
The steps include face your palm outward and tuck your thumb to the middle of the palm, then fold the other 4 fingers to trap the thumb.
Earlier this month, it was reported that this sign has saved a 16 year-old girl from an attempted kidnapping in Kentucky, USA. The girl was travelling with a 61 year-old man in a car when she signaled the passersby with the hand gesture. Fortunately, it caught the attention of someone and they called the authorities.
What Should You Do After You See The Sign?
According to AWAM, you should stay calm and make sure the victim’s safety is guaranteed after you notice anyone doing the signal. AWAM recommends to pretend there’s nothing going on if the abuser is at the scene.
Following which, ask them about their safety discreetly by using simple “yes” or “no” questions.
If the victim needs your help, then do what is necessary, which includes calling the AWAM hotline or giving them support in ways they need.
In most cases of domestic violence, immediately calling the police may actually increase the risk of more violence for the victim. Hence, it is only suitable to call the authorities if the victim is in real immediate threats.
Alternatively, you can always reach out to Malaysian’s 24-hour Talian Kasih hotline at 15999 if you needed help.