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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
December 16, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is observed worldwide every year on November 25.
1 in 3 women experiences abuse, but only 1 in 10 seeks help
Research have shown that around 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime, but only 1 in 10 women would go to the police for help. In times of crisis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, measures put in place including lockdowns and work-from-home arrangements have further increased women’s exposure to violence and abuse cases have been on the rise. In Singapore, this is evident from the increased number of inquiries and investigations conducted by the Ministry of Social and Family Development on abuse cases which was at a record high in 2020. Similarly in Good Shepherd Centre (GSC), the number of referrals for shelter placement due to abuse have also increased during the pandemic period.
A Topic very close to their Hearts
On 16 December 2021, GSC gathered a group of residents including women and children to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This is a topic that would be very close to the heart of most residents in GSC as they have all gone through certain forms of abuse and are survivors of violence. The session started with a discussion on what violence means to them. While some residents were not so ready to speak about the topic, others were able to share examples of violence. Most of them listed examples of physical violence during the discussion.
Signal for Help
After the discussion, the “Signal for Help” was introduced to the residents. This signal was created in 2020 as a tool to combat the rise in domestic violence around the world. The perpetrators of abuse often closely monitor and control victims so tightly that asking for help is almost impossible. The signal is a single, continuous hand gesture that can be made easily by an individual to alert others that they feel threatened and need help over a video call, or in-person.
Letters of encouragement and support to themselves
As a closure activity, the women and children wrote letters to themselves as a form of encouragement and support. While the younger children enjoyed the craft time, the older children and adults wrote supportive messages to themselves as a reminder to stay strong and keep going despite the struggles they face.
Resident C: “I want to believe that I can do anything. Do your best and seek help if you struggle”.
Resident S: “Every problem has an end to it. Don’t worry about what problem you’re facing. You will get through it. Be strong for yourself. You only get yourself in the end. Be patient and let go of negative thoughts.”
At the end of the session, they feedback to appreciate the time for this activity as it provided a space for them to reflect on their own experiences and to craft a meaningful message to themselves.
Good Shepherd Centre