Women are affected by the MCO
The MCO affects women adversely because more women are at risk as most domestic violence survivors are women, and being trapped at home only increases the risk of abuse.
Also more women nowadays manage household finances and takes care of the family. With reduced or no income during MCO, this adds on to their stress levels and can harm them mentally. Women in the B40 who lose their side income are either financial dependent on their spouse (who can sometimes take advantage of the situation) or in the case of single mothers, lose their monthly income entirely.
Women also make up most of the frontliners in the medical line and therefore are at higher risk. Pregnant women and new mothers also have to take extra care and are more vulnerable with lack of funds to take of themselves and their babies.
How we can help you
AWAM provides free counselling and legal services to all people irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity. We pride ourselves on doing the best we can to support survivors and people in crisis.
Our counselling session has moved to other platforms such as over the phone, Skype or virtual meeting rooms.
Through our legal information services, we can help you by researching the relevant laws pertinent to your unique situation, present options that are available to you in order to assist you in making the best choice for yourself.
We also provide psychosocial counselling for members of the public who are affected by the MCO.
Despite the MCO, our services remains open, operating from 9.30am to 5.30pm. We are available via direct call, WhatsApp and Telegram. Beyond those hours, we do receive WhatsApp and Telegram messages and depending on availability, we will respond to your messages.
Domestic Violence during MCO
Domestic Violence describes any act of direct or indirect violence or abuse (including acts of coercion or preventing the other person’s access to their rights) that is used by someone within the domestic sphere to exercise power and control over another.
With the MCO, women are more vulnerable to abuse and violence as their roles within the domestic sphere is emphasized, particularly when it comes to care and house work. Women are also encouraged to work, cope with MCO and in many cases, reduced income.
This social, financial, cultural vulnerability makes women more susceptible to violence within the home. Mental and emotional violence can also have a debilitating effect on a survivor during this time.
Sexual Harassment during MCO
Sexual harassment refers to an unwanted or unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature, and may be committed physically, verbally, non-verbally, psychologically and/ or visually, which can or may cause the person being harassed to feel humiliated, offended or threatened.
The MCO serves to limit human interaction in order to prevent the spread of the virus. However, this has the unwanted effect of isolating women, especially when they are out of the home.
AWAM has received a report of sexual harassment during the MCO. AWAM has also received multiple complaints of a surge in sexist messages during the MCO.
Rise in Period Poverty
While the public is constantly reminded to practice proper hygiene to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection, menstrual hygiene gets lost in the background, Period poverty is defined as a menstruating person’s inaccess to safe and hygienic use of sanitary menstrual goods.
This means that there are women and girls in Malaysia who do not have enough or no sanitary napkins to use when they have their periods. With the MCO in place, some households are earning less – and in some cases – nothing at all, as salaries are cut and jobs, especially for daily wage workers, are terminated. With less money to go around, the silent “need” for sanitary napkins often goes unheeded – or far down the list of priorities.
For the B40, this means that they would have to purchase sanitary napkins or menstrual pads on their own or make do with DIY pads, which are not safe nor hygienic.