updated 10 Jun 2013, 23:14
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What would you do if you witness abuse?

Eight in 10. This is the number of persons who say they will not intervene if they know that a friend, relative or neighbour is being abused by a partner, according to a 2012 survey by the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

The main reason for their inaction?

They have no idea how to help.

Other reasons include fear of the abuser's reaction and the feeling that it is none of their business, according to Aware.

"If the situation gets too violent, I will call the police. If I know the couple well, I will also ask what is happening.

But as an outsider, there's a limit to what I can do.

"It's, after all, still a domestic issue. Who knows, the person being abused might not even want to listen to you."
- Mr Alfred Tan, 52, sales and marketing officer

"If I see someone being abused in public, I will do something because it's disturbing the peace."But if the abuse happens behind closed doors, there's nothing I can do about it because I wouldn't know the full details. Some people might not like others interfering in their affairs."
- Mr Muhammad Hafidz Basri, 30, technical officer

"Other than offering helpline numbers, I will not want to get involved because these are personal matters.

It's none of my business."
- Mr Deep Singh, 30s, aerospace technician

"Sometimes, people just need to mind their own business. I mean, as outsiders, who are we to decide if someone needs or wants to be 'saved'?"
- Ambrose Chong, 23, undergraduate

We Can!

Aware has brought the global 'We Can!' campaign (or We Can End All Violence Against Women) here. Singapore is the 16th country to join the movement against gender violence, according to Aware's website.

The target of the three-year campaign is to mobilise more than 1,000 individuals and community groups, who will make a commitment to work towards a violence-free society. Each of them will aim to get the We Can! message to another 10 people.

If you believe someone you know is facing abuse:

- Listen to her
- Help her make a safety plan
- Inform her of the various resources
- Encourage her to seek help and patiently wait for her to take the first step
- Don't downplay the danger, judge or criticise her decision, even if it means she isn't ready to do something about it
- Don't try to solve her problems and insist that she should do what you say

If you know someone who is abusive:

- Tell him that nothing justifies his violent behaviour
- Tell him that his actions bother you
- Tell the couple that you care about them and urge them to seek help
- Don't agree with any excuses he makes for the violence.


Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware): 1800 774-5935
Promoting Alternatives to Violence (Pave): 6555-0390

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