Sisters in Islam joined a growing chorus of condemnation against Women and Community Development( MWFCD) Deputy Minister Datuk Hajah Siti Zailah, over a controversial video that suggests women “accept, remain patient and forgive” their abusive spouses.
The vocal feminist organisation called the message in the video unacceptable and unbecoming of a public official in a ministry tasked to protect women.
In a 5-minute-18-second video, Siti Zailah gave advice on how to handle stress for married couples during the 6 weeks movement control order (MCO), which included being patient with their spouses and accepting their flaws.
She said wives should think of the husband’s “1,000 strengths”, say thank you and forgive each other. For Muslims, she suggested they take their ablution to calm down when feeling angry.
“While those are general advice for any marriages and relationships, the video by Siti Zailah gives out an underlying tone that women should accept, remain patient and forgive their partners despite their partners’ abusive attitude,” the group said in a statement.
“This is unacceptable as deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development.
“She should be empowering women by affirming that they deserve to live a life free from violence and fear and to reiterate that women and children’s safety are the utmost priority for the (ministry).”
The video has invited public wrath, who said the message was demeaning and dangerous to women facing abusive partners. This comes as concerns mount over the rising reports of domestic abuses during the MCO.
Groups like SIS and the Women’s Aid Organisation reported an increase in domestic violence in just the first two weeks of the government-enforced “stay-at-home” order.
With the restrictions in place, there is an increased risk of violence, with help inaccessible for victims trying to escape their abusers, especially for high risk cases.
The ministry’s controversial video was likely issued as a response to such concerns. But SIS said it instead reflected Siti Zailah’s failure to grasp the issue and dynamics of being in an abusive marriage or relationship, especially during the MCO.
“Furthermore, Siti Zailah mentioned that the MWFCD through Talian Kasih 15999 has taken action against 100 per cent of the complaints received,” it said.
“What actions have been taken exactly? How do the three tips given by Siti Zailah then serve the purpose of promoting Talian Kasih 15999?”
SIS would like to reiterate and urge the MWFCD to focus on protecting women and children instead of advising women to please their husbands, accept and be patient of their husband’s abusive nature as women and children are exposed to violence more during the MCO.
However, some netizens were posted comments in SIS facebook post saying that they twisted the content of the video by Siti Zailah.
Another netizen commented that advices from the deputy minister maybe effective for the regular people facing their anger in relationships, but not really make sense to abusive households.
What do you think, fellow Malaysian?
Source : Malay Mail