A video clip of the police spraying protesters with high pressure water cannons during the 2007 Bersih rally changed Yu Ren Chung’s outlook of life. For him, that was the moment he was exposed to activism in Malaysia. He was then studying abroad. When he saw protesters being hit with water, he pondered as to why the government was doing that to its own citizens?
Subsequently, he attended a talk by well-known activist Zainah Anwar which further inspired him on the topic of human rights in Malaysia.
By the time he graduated and returned to Malaysia, he decided to contribute and learn more on the topic of human rights in Malaysia by joining the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) in 2012.
He says that it is one of WAO’s fundamental beliefs that all human beings should have control over the conditions that shape their lives and do not deserve to be battered.
In 2017, WAO had provided free consultation to about 4,000 individuals, including by offering case management and shelter to 250 women and children. Their advocacy work led to new laws and policy reforms.
Most survivors benefit from improved public policies that WAO helped brought about in 2017, adds Ren Chung.
He is however quick to add that the impact of an NGO can only go so far and the goal to end gender-based violence can only be achieved if all parties play their roles.
“We need to improve the way our public system responds to domestic violence. One of the steps that can be taken is that if all parties involved were to offer support to one another.”
He says societies are now more open towards public dialogue on the issue of domestic violence such as sexual harassment, child marriage, stalking and so on.
“This is a result of many forces, and our challenge now is to ensure these dialogues translate into legal and behavioural reforms”.
WAO can be reached at 018 988 8058.