Malaysia: Solidarity in the fight against violence to women and children

Trafficking in women and children, sexual exploitation of female migrant workers and domestic violence – this affects countless numbers of women in Indonesia and Malaysia. A network of churches and organisations in both countries is combating this. They help victims obtain justice by awareness building, counselling and legal support.

Domestic and sexual violence is a widespread problem in Malaysia and Indonesia. Almost 300,000 cases of violence against women and children were reported to the Commission on the Rights of Women in Indonesia in 2014. The real figures are substantially higher. About 68 per cent of all reported acts of violence in Indonesia are acts of domestic violence which may include sexual violence.

The patriarchal heritage of domestic violence

The same applies to many girls and women in Sabah, a Malaysian federal state on the island of Borneo. Sexual assaults are the result of patriarchal structures and values which are strongly rooted in the society there. In the majority of cases, men are not held responsible for their deeds. The women affected often have poor education, are financially dependent and have no chance to obtain information about their rights or call upon legal defence.

The project supported by the Basel Mission German Branch and Mission 21 helps women and children who are the victims of violence in private households or in the form of organised sexual exploitation. Partner organisations in Malaysia and Indonesia also offer victims counselling, support and awareness campaigns for preventive action.

The aim is justice between genders

The team works together with many different religions within its local networks. The churches train staff to provide victims with psychosocial counselling and offer refuge to victims of violence. Together with workshop and training course participants, co-workers build awareness of the right to justice between genders. Women are encouraged to open up and talk about their experiences. The project participants try to organise campaigns to reach out to as many people in the population as possible and sensitise them to the topic of violence. In addition, a parliamentary initiative aims at more effective legislation against the perpetrators of violence.

There are already first reports of the programme’s success in awareness building. In 2017, the Asian Council of Churches initiated a consultation on the topic of trafficking with women and children. Co-workers in partner organisations in Malaysia and Indonesia also received training courses on how to treat traumatised women and children. More and more women are reporting to these institutions and are talking about their experiences with violence. Local social workers stand by and support them with psychosocial counselling and legal protection. Meanwhile, it has been possible to bring perpetrators to justice and demand their sentence for grievous bodily harm.

Your donation supports project work for women and children in Malaysia who were the victims of domestic violence.

Account for Donations:
Basler Mission - Deutscher Zweig
Evangelische Bank eG
IBAN: DE91520604100000001180