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AWAM Records Rising Trend Of Violence Against Women In 2022

From January to March 2022, AWAM recorded over 200 cases involving domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and mental health, among others.

Helping hand offered to a person in distress. Photo by geralt from Pixabay.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 – Women’s group All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) received 204 cases in the first three months of the year on its Telenita hotline comprising domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.

Case numbers increased every month since last January, according to AWAM’s 2022 Telenita Quarter 1 Report.

In January, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) received a total of 34 cases, followed by 60 cases in February, before the figure rose to 110 in March.  

AWAM’s Telenita hotline provides two types of services: free well-being counselling for survivors of gender based violence and free legal information.

During the three-month period, AWAM received 40 calls related to legal inquiries. It also received 25 calls about domestic violence and 22 calls about mental health issues.

In total, AWAM received 31 harassment cases, with 12 cases involving sexual harassment, nine cases involving online sexual harassment, and 10 cases of other types of harassment.

The organisation handled 11 divorce cases, and five cases each related to intimate partner violence and relationship problems. It also received three inquiries about financial problems, and two each about rape and sexual assault.

AWAM received the most number of cases (58) in the “others” category.

Based on these cases, the total number of survivors who reached out to AWAM were 141. One hundred and eighteen were female, followed by 11 male and 12 of undisclosed gender.

Most of the survivors’ ages were undisclosed (74.5 per cent), 12.8 per cent were between the ages of 18 to 30. Survivors under the age group of 31 to 49 constituted 5.7 per cent of total survivors, followed by 50 to 59 (4.3 per cent), 13 to 17 (1.4 per cent) and above 60 (1.3 per cent).

While most of the survivors were from undisclosed locations (86), a huge number who reached out were from Selangor (28), followed by Kuala Lumpur (9). Four were from Perak, while three each were from Johor and Penang, followed by Negeri Sembilan and Sarawak at two each.

There was one survivor each from Putrajaya, Kelantan, Sabah, and overseas.

Most of the survivors contacted AWAM through direct call  (89), while another 31 reached out through WhatsApp and 13 through email.

A small number also contacted the organisation through social media channels including Instagram (2), Twitter (2), Facebook (1), and TikTok (1). The NGO also received two walk-in cases.

Domestic Violence

AWAM received a total of 25 domestic violence cases in the first three months of 2022. In January, it received four cases followed by six in February, before the number of cases peaked in March at 15.

In January, the domestic violence cases included a combination of physical (4), psychological/emotional (1), economic (1), online (6) and undisclosed (1).

February cases comprised a combination of physical (4), psychological/emotional (4), economic (3), online (1) and undisclosed (1) domestic violence.

In March, the cases included a combination of physical (7), psychological/emotional (7), sexual (1), economic (2) and online (1) forms of domestic violence.

Twenty-four of the survivors identified as female, while one was of an undisclosed gender.

The oldest survivor was 76, while the youngest was 21.

Those of undisclosed age comprised the highest number of domestic violence survivors (64 per cent), followed by those between the ages of 18 to 30 (16 per cent), 31 to 49 (8 per cent), 50 to 59 (8 per cent) and those older than 60 (4 per cent).

For all three months, the highest number of cases involved spouses as the perpetrators of domestic violence. In January, two of the perpetrators in the cases were the spouse, while in February five of them were the spouse and March had nine cases involving spouses.

An ex-spouse and parent/step parent were also perpetrators in one case each in January. In February, the other two cases involved other family members. Aside from spouses, perpetrators in March include parent/step parent (3), other family members (3), ex-spouses (2) and an undisclosed perpetrator (1).

Out of the survivors, 58.3 per cent took action either during or after getting in touch with AWAM, 29.2 per cent did not, while it is unknown if 12.5 per cent of the survivors took action.

Among the actions taken, 43.5 per cent sought legal information, 39.1 per cent went for counselling, 13 per cent had general enquiries and 4.3 per cent received medical treatment.

Sexual Harassment

AWAM received 12 cases of sexual harassment from January to March 2022. One case occurred in January, followed by five in February and six in March.

In January, the sole case involved an undisclosed form of sexual harassment, while in February there were two cases each of physical and undisclosed sexual harassment, as well as one case of verbal sexual harassment.

AWAM received three cases of physical sexual harassment, followed by one case each of verbal, gestural and undisclosed sexual harassment in March.

Ten of the survivors who reached out about sexual harassment cases were female while the other two were male.

The oldest survivor was 25 and the youngest was 22. Among the survivors, 83.3 per cent were of undisclosed age, while 16.7 per cent were between the ages of 18 to 30.

The sole sexual harassment case in January was perpetrated by a work colleague. Three of the perpetrators of sexual harassment cases in February were work colleagues, while the other case involved a perpetrator categorised as others but is indicated as “known” to the survivor.

In March, three cases involved perpetrators who fell under the others (and known) category, two were colleagues, and one each involved a perpetrator who was a stranger and an undisclosed perpetrator.

An equal number of survivors at 41.7 per cent each took action and did not take action during or after reaching out to AWAM, while it is unknown if 16.7 per cent of them took action.

Among the survivors who took action, 44.4 per cent of them sought legal information, 33.3 per cent had general enquiries, while 22.2 per cent obtained counselling services.

Online Sexual Harassment

AWAM received a total of nine online sexual harassment cases from January to March with three cases recorded in January, followed by two in February and four in March.

Seven of the survivors were female and two were of undisclosed gender.

The youngest survivor was 20-years-old while the oldest were 52. A majority of the survivors were of undisclosed age (55.6 per cent), while 18 to 30-year-olds made up 33.3 per cent of online sexual harassment survivors.

Those between the ages of 50 and 59 years old made up the rest at 11.1 per cent.

The perpetrator was a stranger in two of the cases in January while one case involved an intimate partner as perpetrator. In February, one case each was perpetrated by a work colleague and family member.

Two of the cases in March involved perpetrators who were strangers and one involved an intimate partner. The perpetrator of the one other case was undisclosed.

The numbers were evenly split (33.3 per cent) between survivors who took action, those who didn’t and in cases where it was unknown if the survivors took action during and after reaching out to AWAM.

Half took action by seeking legal information, 37.5 per cent had general enquiries and 12.5 per cent followed up with the police.

Rape

AWAM received two rape cases in the first three months of this year, both occurring  in February. Both survivors were female, one between the ages of 18 and 30, and the other was of undisclosed age.

In one of the cases, the perpetrator was a parent or stepparent and in the other, the perpetrator was an intimate partner or spouse.

One of the survivors took action by going for counselling, while the other didn’t take any action during or after reaching out to AWAM.

Sexual Assault

AWAM received two cases of sexual assault in January involving female survivors who are still children, one aged 13 and the other was 16.

Both of the sexual assaults were non-physical and perpetrated by a stranger. One survivor took action through general enquiries and counselling, while the other didn’t take any action.

Intimate Partner Violence

AWAM received five cases of intimate partner violence in the first three months of this year. One case occurred in January, followed by two each in February and March.

The case in January involved physical and psychological violence. In February, the cases involved a combination of sexual (1) and psychological violence (2). In March, the violence inflicted were of a physical (1) and sexual (1) nature.

All the survivors were female. There was only a one-year age gap between the youngest survivor who was 25 and the oldest survivor who was 26.

Sixty per cent of the survivors were of undisclosed age, while the remaining 40 per cent  were between the ages of 18 to 30-years-old.

All the cases in January and February were perpetrated by partners of the survivors, while the perpetrators for all cases in March were ex-partners.

Sixty per cent of survivors took action during or after getting in touch with AWAM through legal information (40 per cent), counselling (40 per cent) and general enquiries (20 per cent).  The remaining 40 per cent took no action.

Mental Health

AWAM received 22 mental health cases in the first three months of the year, with four cases occurring in January, 10 in February and eight in March.

In January, three of the cases were categorised as general while one was diagnosed. In February, six cases were categorised under gender-based violence and four were diagnosed cases. There were three gender-based violence cases, four general and one undisclosed case in March.

Among gender-based violence related mental health cases, 66.7 per cent were domestic violence, 22.2 per cent were sexual harassment, and 11.1 per cent were rape.

Twenty-one of the survivors were female and one was male. The youngest survivor was 21, while the oldest was 76 years old. 

Among the survivors, 54.5 per cent were of an undisclosed age, 18.2 per cent were between the ages of 50 and 59, 13.6 per cent were in the 18 to 30 age bracket, 9.1 per cent were in the 31 to 49 age group, while 4.5 per cent were above the age of 60.

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