In a recent survey conducted by the Women’s Aid Organization (WAO), it is found that Malaysians have a fairly good understanding of what violence against women is, but less that half of the respondents support gender equality.
The survey was administered by Ipsos and supported by Global Fund For Women, Yayasan Sime Darby, academic experts and survivors of violence against women, where they had taken the opinions of 1,000 respondents.
A summary of the results of the survey showed the following:
- 46.3% of Malaysians supported for gender equality.
- 52.7% were opposed to attitudes that encouraged violence.
- 53.3% are of opinion that domestic violence is a “normal” reaction of stress or frustration.
- 43% believed that women can make men angry enough to hit them without meaning to.
- 30% believed that women who flirt are to blame when they get hit by their partners out of jealousy.
- 26.5% believe that domestic violence is “forgivable” if the abuser becomes so angry that they lose control.
- 83.4% believe that rape happens when a male is unable to control his desires.
- 51.3% think that sexual crimes happen due to the way a woman dresses.
- 70.3% strongly opposed child marriages allowed by under Shariah law, civil and customary laws in Malaysia.
- 11% did not think that online harassment, stalking, and controlling behavior constituted forms of domestic violence/abuse.
In a statement, WAO said the results highlighted how many Malaysians still believe that violence against women is excusable under certain circumstances, such as when perceived as an emotional gesture, or in the event the victim has behaved in a way that triggers the abuse.
“Malaysians also tend to underestimate the complexity of abuse, with 37.1% of the survey population believing that it is not as hard to leave an abusive relationship, and 44.9% who believe that women who stay with their abusive partners, are also responsible for the ongoing abuse.” the group said.
Meanwhile, if the results gives a fair and accurate view of what the majority of Malaysians thinks, it seems that there is much more to do in terms of changing mindsets.
As an action point, WAO also suggested to take an active role in educating the public on such issues and openly confronting attitudes that encourage such behavior, with the political will to combat child marriages and female genital mutilations.
Until such changes being made in Malaysia, victims of abuse cases such as rape, sexual harassment, or similar are encouraged to voice out their experiences and seek help by contacting the WAO or various other helplines listed here.