THE Padang Dewan Datuk Haji Ahmad Badawi in Butterworth, Penang, was a sea of white as more than 4,500 participants came together to denounce violence against women and children.
The event, themed ‘Penang Goes Orange: I Stop VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children)’, saw walkers decked in empowering messages on their clothing to promote the cause.
Throughout the 2.6km walk, several volunteers also held placards bearing messages such as ‘Stop Sexual Harassment’ and ‘Silence Promotes Violence’.
After the walk, the crowd busied themselves at the variety of booths, including the photo booth where individuals comprising young and old created their own messages in support of the event.
One memorable poster communicated ‘Forgetting is Difficult. Remembering is Worse’ with regard to sexual abuse.
Another popular booth was the Children’s Corner where children enjoyed playing games like congkak and reading books on good and bad touch.
The participants also sang and danced merrily to Zumba numbers, and other lively entertainment.
There were also performances by the Penang Dhol Blasters, singer Nur Dini and dancer Elaine Neoh.
Jointly organised by the Penang government, Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) and Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC), the event was also held to mark the 10th anniversary of the Women’s Service Centre (PPW).
PPW is a collaboration between the Women’s Centre for Change and the Penang government to help women and children in crisis and to raise awareness on violence against women and sexual violence in the communities in Penang and other northern states.
At the recent event, WCC president Susan Siew also spoke about how WCC and PPW had made a difference in helping women and children.
She said out of over 500 women and children served last year, nearly 80% of them earned below RM3,000 per month, with 32% of them having no regular income.
“Financial stress is a main factor, preventing women from leaving violent marriages.
“Last year, 84% of the victims we supported in court were children below 18. Something must be done to protect our young, ” she said.
In his speech, state exco member Phee Boon Poh, representing Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, reiterated the state’s commitment in ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all, especially women and children.
“Over the last 10 years, the state has funded WCC to run PPW in Seberang Prai, ” he said.
Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto said since 2014, the state government has led the Penang Goes Orange campaign to mark the international ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ that eradicates violence against women and children.
She was representing Chong Eng, who is Penang exco member in charge of women and family development, gender inclusiveness and non-islamic religious affairs.
Also present were Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit, Seberang Prai City Council secretary Rosnani Mahmod and PWDC chief executive officer Ong Bee Leng, who flagged off the walk.
Attractive lucky draw prizes including a motorcycle, HD television, smartphone, air conditioner, bicycle and noodle makers were given out during the event.
The main sponsors were the Penang Executive Council for women and family development and gender inclusiveness, OCBC Bank, Western Digital, Synergy 101, In Tech, CLPG, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim’s service centre and IPK College.
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