Take online gender-based violence seriously: EXCO Chong Eng

Press Statement by YB Chong Eng, Penang State Exco for Women and Family Development, Gender Inclusiveness and Religions other than Islam:

Take Online Gender-Based Violence Seriously

I am deeply shocked and saddened by the vicious online attacks against two of my fellow women leaders. YB Jamaliah Jamaluddin (ADUN Bandar Utama) and YB Lim Yi Wei (ADUN Kampung Tunku) were not only victimised by sexist and racist remarks, they were also threatened with rape and murder. I condemn these shameful acts of violence.

Gender-based violence is more than a collection of individual incidents. It is part of a deep pattern of inequality between women and men in our society. Nearly every woman can relate to the experience of violence, whether in her own life or in the lives of other women around her.

Our increasing dependency on the internet and social media has created new platforms where such violence thrives. Recent statistics from the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) show that online sexual harassment is on the rise. The tragic suicide of young R.Thivya Nayagi last week as a result of such cyberbullying has been a wake up call for all of us to take action against this destructive development.

I call upon the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as well as other authorities to take online gender-based violence seriously and take immediate measures against all perpetrators. They must not be allowed to get away with it. New trends such as this require concerted efforts and fresh solutions.

Through this issue, I take the opportunity to remind the public of the importance of increasing women’s representation in leadership. We need a critical mass of women decisionmakers to speak up on this and other gender issues. Women’s voices matter and they must be heard.

To all survivors of online gender-based violence, I urge you to remain strong. We are with you, and we will not give up this fight for a safer and fairer Malaysia.

CHONG ENG