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Keep Home Safe

Sarawak Women for Women Society, Press Release - 25 March 2020

Staying home is crucial to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, but is home safe for everyone is the concern of Sarawak Women for Women Society.

Homes vary not just in size –  from mansions to rented rooms – and number of people but also in group dynamics.

At this time all can feel a bit on top of each other and tense. Even families with plenty of space, unlike those all squashed into a rented room, can find themselves snappy at such times of heightened anxiety.

Children stuck inside all day are quite likely to be noisy and quarrelsome while their parents are carrying their own anxieties.  For adults they will be tempted to lash out with their tongues or worse. 

It is therefore important we all try to understand each other so we can keep calm and help the home be a place of harmony at such trying times.  Things we can do include: taking a deep breath to calm ourselves; try to give each family member some personal space when they need despite the constraints; finding engaging activities households can enjoy doing together; making an effort to be extra kind to each other and working through worries constructively and not in a way which hurt others.

However, women groups are well aware that domestic violence can occur and can increase when tensions are high and people are living on top of each other.  SWWS is therefore concerned that during this time of worry and confinement to the home some of these abusers will be on a shorter fuse and more likely to offend.

We therefore ask everyone to try and control their anger at this time and look out for each other.

  • If you hear sounds of violence in your neighbour’s house make an anonymous call to the police.
  • If you know of someone who is at risk, then check up on them by sending a text or a phone call
  • If you can – and they want/can –  maybe offer for them to stay with you over this period taking the necessary precautions such as self-isolating.

Remember, we can keep social contact while social distancing thanks to phones. Reaching out to people can be a lifeline in many ways.   Having a friend who understands and can give support can help people survive this time and may also – if offered to the hot-tempered person t – help them keep their cool.  Also when those quick to anger know their family members are in touch with others they may think twice about venting their frustrations on them.  

Although SWWS’s phone line is closed during the movement control order people can email us to discuss their situation on sarswws@gmail.com or phone the Woman’s Aid Organisation in KL who have the resources to keep their TINA line open 24 hours for text messages/WhatsApp (018988 8058) and their hotline from 9-5 Monday – Saturday. They also have helpful information on their website (wao.org.my). 

Those who fear for their safety can also approach the One Stop Crisis Centre in all major Government Hospitals. Children at risk in anyway, including from sexual advances, can ring the Government helpline (Talian Kasih) on 15999 or WhatsApp them at 019261 5999.

Let’s work together and keep everyone safe from anything or anyone that can harm.