We are not used to talking about violence and gender
“In Myanmar, domestic violence is widespread, but people don’t want to talk about it. Most people see men as superior and they think the man has the right to beat his wife and children. Neither men nor women are aware that this is a kind of violence. Instead they think it’s a way for the man to gain respect.”
Wah Wah Kyaw, is a volunteer working for NGO GG in the suburb where she lives, in an industrial zone outside Yangon.
“I used to work in a factory. But me and my husband agreed it was more convenient for me to stay at home and take care of the household and our daughter, she is seven years old now. The arrangement has also allowed me to attend NGO GG’s training courses on gender, gender-based violence and the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination of women, CEDAW.
Will share the knowledge
Now I will share my knowledge with others living in the area. I have also been introduced to the local authorities, in order to cooperate with them when someone who is exposed to violence seeks my help. And together with my neighbour, Kyawt Kyawt who is also a volunteer, I will hold monthly meetings at home. The topics will be gender-based violence, child abuse and gender equality.
"We have a culture of cursing each other"
I became a volunteer because I want to see a better life for women. People are poor in this area. Most of them struggle with their daily life and live from hand to mouth. Gender-based violence is common here, especially domestic violence and child rape. There is a culture of cursing each other, everyone does it, even the children, and the cursing often escalates into violence. Alcohol is another big problem, resulting in violence.
"The society will be more free with less violence"
A lot of people have never heard about gender and gender-based violence and are not aware of what to do or where to go when they face problems. Even I had not heard about gender and gender-based violence before I attended NGO GG’s training. Now I have shared my new knowledge with my husband and he thinks I am doing great work to help others. If there is less violence in the community, the society will be more free and open”, Wah Wah Kyaw says proudly.