“According to the preliminary International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS) released yesterday, Rina was among a growing number of educated Malay women who had experienced domestic violence in the last 12 months” (Educated, But Battered, Too, Mr. Zul Othman).
I refer to the report, “Educated, But Battered, Too” (January 29, 2010), by Mr. Zul Othman.
It is indeed disheartening to know that – statistically – various instances of domestic abuses remain prevalent in this present day and age; not just in Singapore, but around the globe. More alarmingly, as reflected in the report, the numbers and data are likely to under-represent the true extent of the situation; particularly when there is the supposed lack of awareness and the perpetual element of fear in different forms.
Organisations and individuals should not take comfort in the fact that the levels of domestic abuse inflicted upon women in Singapore are comparatively much lower when looked against the data from other nations. Correspondingly, the adopted mentality should be that every case of abuse is one incident too many. In Singapore at least, there should be no baseline for tolerance when it comes to domestic violence; and under no circumstances or justification should such activities be morally accepted.
Awareness for domestic violence has been campaigned and sustained very frequently. The initial OJ Simpson trials in the USA had brought the issue to the fore; while the United Nations have been actively raising awareness through a multitude of events and subsidiary organisations. Even in Singapore, an assortment of agencies have taken on the responsibility to safeguard the rights of women across the island, and have spent years heightening understanding and empowering the respective individuals. Yet, cases are still present and occurring regularly.
Consequently, the key questions are: has enough been done, and should alternative methodologies be adopted?
Rightfully so. In terms of awareness, current efforts could be expanded to include not just women per se, but also to men and even the family unit as a whole. While the woman herself suffers the immediate physical or mental repercussions, the family would undoubtedly suffer some form of ramification as well. Alternatively, they function as important pillars of support for the victim under the challenging circumstances. Of course, other avenues can be explored, such as enhanced counselling or sharing sessions to aid in the rehabilitation process. Current organisations could also band together to take the programmes to another level.
Ultimately, prevention is better than cure. That is why measures to raise awareness to curb domestic abuse should be further increased and stepped up. Some might claim that the eradication of domestic abuse is a tad ambitious; but it is certainly not an impossible one.