UN Secretary General António Guterres has recently announced that the global lockdowns announced during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a “horrifying surge” in gender-based violence (GBV). This has exposed the existing gender inequalities given the burden of caring for other vulnerable individuals at home — such as young children and/or sick or elderly family members — falls disproportionately on women.
As you may know, calling out for help on GBV cases is always a difficult one as the victim always unable to find a proper source to voiced out. Therefore, Twitter is launching a dedicated gender-based violence search prompt for hotlines and support in local languages in Asia Pacific. The existing hashtag #ThereIsHelp can be now use for GBV along with mental health and suicide prevention, vaccination, child sexual exploitation and COVID-19. The close partnership with UN Women Asia Pacific, as well as leading NGOs and government agencies that provide critical emergency care, support and counselling, this service is now available in Malaysia and several other seven APAC countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. It is expected that Twitter will expand this service in the near future to other countries across the region in the coming weeks and months.
In Malaysia, Twitter has partnered with trusted national NGO partners in this effort to provide services via the referrals of the #thereishelp service as follows:
● Women’s Aid Org (WAO) is a Malaysian NGO that provides free shelter, counselling, and crisis support to women and children who experience abuse.
● All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) is a feminist non-profit organization based in Malaysia working on a local and national level to address Gender-Based Violence (GBV) such as rape, sexual harassment and workplace discrimination while envisioning and working towards substantive equality while recognising the unique diversity, intersectionality, and play of power, privilege and other environmental factors.
It is truly amazing that Twitter is taking a step to help GBV victims to call for help. Not only the victim to get the necessary help, it provides a platform for them to voiced out as well. Hopefully, more corporations and NGOs can pour in more aid or collaboration with Twitter to combat various issues happening around the world.