Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2019•11•25    08:00 - 14:00
    Kuala Lumpur

    The United Nations marks 25th of November each year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as the first day of 16 days of Activism to raise awareness to end violence against women and girls.

    This year, the UN in Malaysia is working together with the Women’s Institute of Management to deliver an event focused on eliminating sexual harassment, assault, violence and rape committed against women and girls, in times of peace or war, under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” as part of the UNU-IIGH’s Gender and Health Seminar Series.

    This theme comes under the broader framework of UN Women’s End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign) and the Generation Equality campaign that marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a global strategy adopted unanimously by 189 Member States in 1995 to address 12 critical areas of concern for women’s and girls’ rights, including ending violence against women and girls.

    While the names and events may vary across contexts, women and girls experience sexual harassment, assault, sexual violence and rape worldwide. These human rights abuses are rooted in unequal gender power relations perpetuated by complex and reinforcing social, economic, political and legal structures implying that women have less value and fewer rights than men, creating a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalised. The UNiTE Campaign calls on people to take a stand against the pervasive rape culture that surrounds us with a focus on: promoting consent to prevent and eradicate rape and sexual harassment; eliminating rape as a weapon in peace and war; and providing comprehensive multisectoral response services using a survivor centred approach.

    Malaysian Context

    Sexual harassment is not a crime in Malaysia but is considered a serious misconduct within the 1999 Code of Practice on the prevention and eradication of sexual harassment in the workplace and its implementation is not compulsory. Enacting the Sexual Harassment Bill in Malaysia would be a step forward in making perpetrators accountable.

    Under the Malaysian Penal Code, sexual assault, physical molestation, indecent exposure and rape are outlined as offences, while assaulting or using criminal force with the intention to outrage modesty, committing unnatural acts against a person are considered serious crimes.

    According to the Malaysian Penal Code, rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent. Sexual intercourse with a woman is also considered rape when her consent is obtained under fear of hurt or death, when she unable to understand the nature and consequences of what she is consenting to, or when her consent is obtained by using a position of authority, a professional relationship, or other relationship of trust. Sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 years of age, with or without her consent, is also considered rape. The Penal Code Section 376 establishes that those who committed rape can be punished with whipping along with imprisonment ranging from 10 to 30 years, depending on the circumstances.

    However, women experiencing sexual harassment, assault, violence and rape typically underreport it due to stigma, fear of retribution, inadequate protection services and perceptions by the police and other service providers that violence is a private matter (particularly intimate partner violence). There is insufficient data on the incidence of rape, and cases reported to the Malaysian authorities represent the tip of the iceberg, which results in impunity for perpetrators of violence.

    In the context of supporting victims of domestic violence, Malaysia has enacted the Domestic Violence Act 1994. The Ministry of Health in Malaysia has implemented the One Stop Crisis Centres (OSCC) within the Emergency Departments of urban public hospitals to provide a range of integrated services to address sexual and other violence. However, preventive and protective services remain limited. Welfare service provision for survivors relies heavily on NGOs, such as the Women’s Aid Organization, which provides shelters and safe spaces.

    Sexual violence affects women’s health, welfare, finance, and legal standing, as well as their families and communities. Investment in preventing and responding to sexual violence could save costs, in addition to averting suffering, morbidity and mortality.

    Event objectives

    • Raising national awareness on the extent of sexual harassment, assault, violence and rape in Malaysia
    • Providing the opportunity to engage in open and public discussions to understand and support survivors and show commitment to ending violence against women and girls.
    • Promoting the existing resources for survivor-centred approach service provision:
    • The Interagency Prevention Framework – RESPECT


    2019 Programme for the
    International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

    Time Description
    8.30am Registration and Welcome tea/coffee
    9.00-9.01am One minute of silence in honour of the survivors of sexual violence and to acknowledge women’s movements
    9.02-9.10am Welcome Remarks by Dato Dr Nellie Tan-Wong CEO of the Women’s Institute of Management
    9.11-9.20am Opening address by Professor Pascale Allotey, Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH)
    9.21-10:15am Session Chair: Professor Pascale Allotey

    Speakers representing different perspectives on gender-based violence allocated 10 mins each, followed by 15 mins for questions, with 10 mins extra for contingencies.

    Topic 1. Policy perspective: How is Malaysia addressing the elimination of sexual harassment, assault, violence and rape? What could be done better?

    Prof. Dato’ Dr. Rashila Ramli, Principal Fellow/ Professor of Political Science, Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), UKM, specialised in gender and politics and human security. She is also the Asst Sec-Gen for the National Council of Women’s Organisations and a member of the UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab.

    Topic 2. Survivor experiences
    (Panel format, where each speaker is giver 10 mins to talk and question time at the end, moderated by Pascale):

    Liya Red, survivor of gender-based violence, advocate of gender issues and author of a book on her experience, Trust Overboard.

    Nisha Ayub (SEED Foundation) to speak on behalf of the Transgender community. She was recently featured in the BBC’s annual list of 100 most inspiring and influential women

    10:16-10:45am Morning tea and opportunity to view the Humans of ICPD photo exhibition.
    10:46-11:40am Session Chair: Ms. Marcela Suazo, UNFPA representative and Chair of UNCT Gender Results Group.

    Speakers representing different perspectives on gender-based violence allocated 10 mins each, followed by 15 mins for questions, with 10 mins extra for contingencies.

    Topic 3. Service providers perspective: working towards a survivor-centred approach

    Prof. Dr. Sajaratulnisah Binti Othman, Associate Professor in the Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Malaya, currently heading the Violence Intervention Committee. Apart from clinical work, she trains medical trainees, research on areas of interpersonal violence and does advocacy work.

    Topic 4. Women’s Rights Advocate: Navigating the Malaysian legal system

    Shareena Sheriff, Programme Manager for the Advocacy, Legal Services and Research unit for Sisters in Islam.

    Topic 5. Human rights perspective and international legal accountability

    Dr Brigid Inder OBE, HonLLD (New Zealand), a visionary leader & international expert on gender justice, women’s rights, peacebuilding & institutional accountability and former the former Special Advisor on Gender to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, former founding Executive Director of the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice and also served on the Board of the U.K.’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI).

    11.41am-12.50pm Final reflections and closing remarks by Marcela Suazo.
    12:51-1.30pm Lunch.
  • Women’s Institute of Management
    7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg
    Taman Tun Dr Ismail
    60000 Kuala Lumpur

    +603 – 9171 5394