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Acting Against Violence & Supporting Star Shelter

Abuse - be it physical, emotional or coercive control - is a life-changing and deeply personal experience. It is also the most extreme form of betrayal one could experience. Someone who was supposed to care for you turned out to be a constant source of harm in your life. Yet, you’d still hope that this person would change for the better and fulfill the role you envisioned for them, only to be disappointed again and again. Increasing awareness of abuse is the first step we can take to understand and assist abuse victims.


In this last issue of YWLC’s Social Impact Column for 2022, we are featuring the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) A.C.T Against Violence website. It was launched as a one-stop platform to centralise information and helplines for all matters related to violence against women.


What does the “A.C.T” acronym stand for? It refers to a 3-step process to extricate victims from abusive situations. First, victims should be Aware that they are in an abusive situation. Second, victims should be able to Connect with at least another person for support and safety. Lastly, victims should be empowered to Take Precaution to keep themselves safe from the perpetrator.


If you are keen to learn more about abuse and gain a deeper understanding of what domestic abuse victims experience, do spend some time on the website. It provides educational infographics on different types of violence (rape, sexual grooming, financial abuse, intimate partner violence), and infographics on the theories underpinning or contributing to such behaviors of violence. Most importantly, it also has a page for vital helplines, and stories from brave survivors. Here’s an extract:


“The physical abuse did not hurt as much as the emotional distress he caused me and our 3 children. He wanted to control me and the children in every way possible. He did not allow me to work, have friends or visit my side of the family. He was overly strict with our children, often shouting at them and caning them for the smallest mistake. Our second and third child grew up in fear and hatred of their father. They were highly anxious all the time and needed to distract themselves from their pain by indulging in computer games which eventually became an addiction. People asked me why did not leave my husband much earlier, there were many reasons, the 3 main ones were – love, hope, and fear. Despite the abuse, I still loved him and wanted him to change.” - Sandy, 45 years old


Sandy is one of many brave survivors that SCWO-Star Shelter has cared for over the years. SCWO’s Star Shelter has been running for more than 20 years, and is the only secular shelter for women in Singapore. It is an admirable institution that has empowered more than 2000 women and children to rebuild their lives. It is a safe space, providing survivors with accommodation, clothing, food, therapy and educational programmes (eg. tuition, piano lessons). YWLC also partners Star Shelter to organise activities for its residents via our 100 Wishes programme, most recently a yoga session and picnic at Fort Canning on the morning of 17 Dec 2022.


If you’d like to support Star Shelter’s work, please refer to the list of household and food items that Star Shelter would appreciate as donations. Kindly arrange your donation to be delivered to or dropped off at the SCWO at 96 Waterloo Street Singapore (187967) on 6 January 2023, between 9am to 6pm. If you have some time to contribute, do consider volunteering for Star Shelter.


 

This article is part of the Social Impact column by the Social Impact subcommittee that focuses on social causes concerning women and children. Click here to learn more about the subcommittee and its initiatives.


 

Author: Audrey Tim

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