Good Shepherd Services (GSS) will be mobilizing its manpower around Malaysia over the next 16 days in an effort to support the worldwide movement to end violence against women and children.
The United Nation’s campaign of “Orange the World” is a global movement against gender-based violence that is carried out every year from 25 November to 10 December and is celebrated in over 70 countries worldwide. The color orange is adopted by UN to symbolize its goal for a bright and optimist future that is free from violence against women and girls.
“This year, we have decided to focus our campaign on non-violence against children to address the vulnerability of children to various forms of violence as well as call for affirmative action to end such violence. We should instead protect and celebrate children,” GSS executive director Chin Poh Choo said.
During this period, GSS staff in Perak, Selangor and Sabah states will be holding talks, workshops and activities in schools, universities, and churches to highlight and educate the public on what is child abuse, how to recognize the symptoms, and steps to take in order to protect our children. Flyers with additional information will also be distributed.
Violence perpetrated against children has been a hot topic in Malaysia in recent months. In mid-November, news agency Reuters published an article which revealed that most complaints of child sexual abuse in Malaysia do not lead to successful prosecutions.
“According to classified data Malaysian police compiled and shared with Reuters, 12,987 cases of child sexual abuse were reported to police between January 2012 and July of this year. Charges were filed in 2,189 cases, resulting in just 140 convictions,” Reuters said. Earlier this year, many Malaysians were horrified to read the much-publicized case of British sexual predator Richard Huckle who had abused about 200 children here.
Sexual abuse is just one form of child abuse. Other forms of abuse include physical and mental. And in recent years, cyber-bullying has become another more prevalent.
One of the activities which have already kicked off by GSS Ipoh is the Training of Trainers for a group of 13 students from University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in October. Following the training, the UTAR students conducted the sessions on Child Sexual Abuse with some 80 children.
Over in Selangor, GSS held a special activity at Summit USJ Mall in conjunction with International Children’s Day on November 20 whereby the public tapped into their creativity to decorate oranges and took photos against various backdrops. By posting these photos on Facebook, it is hoped that they can spread the awareness to their friends and families. Close to 500 people took part in this event.
Meanwhile, GSS Sabah has slated talks at seven different locations. The talks involve an awareness session on violence against children, a video presentation and small group discussions.