The One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign comes back for its seventh consecutive year in Sabah and Good Shepherd Services Malaysia (GSS) is proud to once again be a part of the biggest mass action to end violence against women.
Traditionally celebrated on Valentine’s Day since 2012, the 2019 theme is ‘From a Campaign to a Way of Life’. In conjunction with the OBR celebration, GSS and its youth ministry, Youth-Prep Centre Alamesra (YPC), organised two events in Tambunan and Kota Kinabalu to raise awareness on issues such as sexual gender-based violence (SGBV), economic injustice and migration.
The Tambunan event took place on 9 February and was joined by men, women and youths from 12 villages around the district. GSS programme officer Tracy Soidi said the organising team gave a talk on how the community can play a part in ending SGBV against women and children.
‘We want the participants to understand that efforts to end SGBV must continue even after the OBR campaign. They have to take the initiative to change their lifestyle and stay committed in fighting injustice against women and children’ she added.
On 16 February, YPC organised an OBR event in Likas Bay, Kota Kinabalu, kicking off with a performance of OBR's theme song ‘Break the Chains’, and a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ by local musicians Shanen and Matteo.
Participants also joined in a drum circle and engaged in open discussions about SGBV. During this session, many survivors of SGBV bravely shared their experience with the purpose of educating and empowering others to speak out against injustice.
YPC programme officer Dwana Kosidi Andrew said although discussions on SGBV can create discomfort among participants, it was crucial to expose them to the issue so that they can, in turn, put into practice what they had learnt during the session.
‘We expected a level of discomfort among participants on the topic of SGBV, but this has more to do with their level of exposure to the issues. So it’s important for us to expose them to the right things.
‘We need turn talk into action. How can we, the community, empower victims of SGBV to speak up or find the courage to seek help from authorities? We want our participants to go home knowing that they have the power to help themselves and others, when faced with SGBV’ she explained.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah's Dr Sanen Marshall also gave a talk on economic justice and migration, with particular attention to the stateless communities living in Sabah.
The event ended with participants dancing to ‘Break the Chain’, which has become part and parcel of the OBR campaign, started by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 2012.
Good Shepherd Services Malaysia Press Release Written by Ms Natasha Joibi