The recent arrest of M.Sugu for hitting his wife Pavithra has once again started the conversation on domestic violence.
The duo became famous during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period with their cooking show on YouTube. Their success story became the talk of the town and inspired many.
Sugu's act of beating his wife, as well as carrying a 26-inch sickle while doing so, shocked many, with some showering support on Pavithra and others asking Malaysians to back off so the couple can sort their issues.
Personal opinions aside, what can a victim of domestic abuse do when faced with violence from a family member?
got in touch with Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) to find out what options those in abusive relationships have.
You have options
If you are stuck in an abusive home, know that you have options
You do not have to stay in an abusive relationship no matter how hopeless the situation may seem.
WAO Senior Advocacy and Research Officer at Women's Aid Organisation, Yap Lay Sheng, told us that there are multiple pathways for survivors.
"The most immediate one is to contact the police directly if the case is urgent. The police will take action immediately," he said.
It is also important to remember that the victims(s) are not the only ones who can make a police report. Even neighbours, family and friends can do so if they suspect domestic violence.
"Anyone can call the police to report a suspected case of domestic violence. If a survivor wishes to explore other options besides reporting a crime, she (or he) may contact WAO’s hotline for further help to explore other options of seeking safety," Yap said.
In Malaysia, the laws pertaining to domestic violence protects "spouses, former spouses, children, family members (adult sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and any other relatives), and 'incapacitated adults' who are living as members of the family."
If you fall under any of these categories, you can seek help.
WAO hotlines are available 24/7
If the situation is not dire, you can call WAO Hotline at +603 7956 3488
or SMS orWhatsApp TINA at +6018 988 8058
. Both lines are available 24/7, so you call anytime to discuss your situation and explore your options.
One Stop Crisis Centres (OSCC) are available at government hospitals
If you have been injured and end up at the hospital, seek out the One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC). You can get a medical report here, which can be used in court if you ever decide to take the issue to court.
Even if you don't intend to yet, it is good to have a copy of the report for the future.
Through OSCC, you can also get connected to Medical Social Worker or Social Welfare Officer who can help you find shelter or provide you with other assistance.
You can find out more about the options here.
Does this mean you have to leave your home?
Domestic violence doesn't usually happen overnight.
It's almost never the case where everything is rainbows and sunshine, and one day a person just snaps and commits violence be it physical, emotional or sexual.
It is often gradual and a complex situation but is leaving the only option?
Yap said that ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the survivors.
"Our experience is that such cases survivors often find themselves trapped in cycles of abuse because of these 'reconciliation'.
"At WAO, we are working to start programmes that would help survivors who are single parent or newly divorced to be financially independent again," he said, reiterating that only a survivor can make the decision to stay or leave.
However, the organisation works with survivors to empower them to make that decision.
WAO provides ways for survivors to be gain independence, be it financial, having alternative housing arrangements, having support networks to see them through, having the autonomy to make decisions independently or any other support they may need.
You can find more resources on domestic violence here.
Always remember: you always have options. If you, or you know someone, who's a victim of domestic abuse, please know that you are not alone.
Get help as soon as you can.