The Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) has appealed to users on social media to stop doing the viral "mugshot challenge", according to a press statement.
The mugshot challenge requires users to put on makeup to achieve a heavily-bruised or battered look and then taking a photo. WAO has described the challenge as "harmful" and "massively problematic". Postings of the challenge are usually uploaded onto platforms like TikTok.
"Participating in this challenge is insensitive and ignorant, as marginalised communities are already subjected to racial profiling and police brutality. Glamorising that injustice even if others are doing it, is wrong," WAO said.
James Charles, a notable social media personality with over five million followers on Twitter, was criticised by his followers for participating in the mugshot challenge, according to a report by Paper magazine. He was accused of making light of issues like domestic violence.
Another social media personality, YouTuber Corinna Kopf has also been slammed for participating in the mugshot challenge. When criticised by a user on Twitter, Copf claimed the challenge was not related to abuse.
"You made it about abuse but that wasn’t the intention of the photo AT ALL," she said to a user on April 8.
Other users doing the challenge have included captions like "I'm in love with a criminal" and "I'm just doing the trend, not promoting violence".
WAO said the mugshot challenge is also detrimental to those who are facing actual domestic violence.
"This is also a poor attempt of creating awareness on domestic violence, as this challenge mocks survivors instead. Survivors go through real experiences and life-threatening situations where they experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and some of them are life-and-death situation. Please do not do this."
Domestic violence has become a major issue for women during the movement control order (MCO) period. WAO said it has received 264 calls and WhatsApp enquiries through its domestic service hotline in the first half of April, citing a 111.2% increase compared to a 14-day period in February with 125 .
Meanwhile, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s Talian Kasih 15999 line had received 135 calls reporting domestic violence during MCO.
“We urge the public to get involved in helping the authorities put a stop to domestic violence. Maybe the victims are afraid to report or do not have any means or opportunity to alert the authorities," Ismail said in the report.
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