Malaysia

Violence against women activists continues to rise. Unfortunately, despite considerable effort, responses to this violence are coming up short. Given the urgency of the situation, JASS and allies are questioning the underlying assumptions guiding activist safety, and bringing a feminist and movement building perspective to rethinking the approach.
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This report is a summary of the shared experiences and learning gained at the July 2014 JASS Southeast Asia (JASS SEA) Indigenous Women Workshop. Representatives from the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar gathered to reflect and share experiences of organizing as indigenous women.
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This issue of Making Change Happen examines the threats, challenges, strategies and aspirations of indigenous and rural women within the greater JASS community. Why this focus? There is plenty of evidence to indicate that indigenous and rural women are facing increasing difficulties throughout the world.
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When Manohara and her fellow activists came together to form the Women’s Equality Association (WEA) in 2012, they thought, “Maybe we should form a women’s shelter where we will do real work.” In the beginning, the foremost question that they had in mind was, “What are we going to do that is different from others?”
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“When a woman goes to a police station to report domestic violence in Malaysia, the police ask questions such as ‘how many children do you have?’ or ‘do you love your husband?’ Then she is told to go back home,” says Manohara Subramaniam of JASS Southeast Asia. This situation is so familiar. It happens in Malaysia, in all countries of Southeast Asia and in many places across the globe.
“One fight, One Voice: Women, Assert Your Rights” was the overarching theme of JASS Southeast Asia’s 2nd annual One Day, One Voice regional campaign. Commemorating the global 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women, during the first week of December, Southeast Asian women from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia & the Philippines took to the street to denounce the increasingly alarming rate of state-sponsored gender-based violence.
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There is no need for a women’s rights movement in Malaysia.
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JASS SEA Regional Workshop  In Phnom Penh, Cambodia - June 22-24, 2012 - JASS Southeast Asia's "landing the helicopter" workshop pondered how to deepen, understand and respond to power as 26 women from six Southeast Asian countries gathered to share stories and ideas on how to strengthen women's activism and JASS' role in the region.
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Manohara has over a decade of experience with counseling women who have been treated violently. She has worked with the Sex Worker Programme of the PT Foundation and as Programme Manager for The All Women's Action Society (AWAM). She curently serves as the manager of the National Programme for the Malaysian AIDS Council, where she is responsible for raising awareness among mothers, youth, and marginalised communities on HIV/AIDS.
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