KNWO Reports Doubled Cases of Physical Violence Against Women During Post-Coup Conflict

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Following the military takeover, physical violence against women has doubled compared to the pre-coup period, said Chairperson Maw Phray Myar of the Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNWO).

“Since the conflict began, physical violence has increased. Previously, before the coup, there were around 20-30 cases per year. However, the number has doubled. Some victims come to seek services from us, while others receive our services from their current locations without coming directly to us,” Maw Phray Myar stated.

She attributed the increase in violence partly to the current lack of a comprehensive judicial system, which empowers perpetrators. Among the rising cases, domestic violence is the most prevalent.

“Most cases of physical violence are due to domestic violence. Some victims suffer severe injuries, such as partial blindness from being beaten, or broken limbs. Some endure irreversible bodily harm,” she stated.

KNWO provides psychological support to victims of such violence to address their mental well-being, said Maw Phray Myar.

“When they come to us, we try our best to understand their feelings and difficulties. We identify what they need and want, then develop a plan to support them. We provide daily counseling and support to help them cope with the situation,” she said.

To reduce the rise of domestic violence against women, the Karenni Interim Executive Council (IEC) has established a Women’s and Children’s Affairs Department to help bring cases to court and facilitate legal action, according to IEC Deputy Secretary, U Banyar.
“Currently, our judicial department and legal advisory office are still in the process of becoming fully operational, so there are some limitations. However, we have a framework in place for addressing these issues from the Women’s and Children’s Affairs Department. Additionally, the Karenni State Police (KSP) also work towards providing support, and the judicial department offers necessary legal advice. This is the process that the entire IEC is working on,” U Banyar said.

KNWO has reported receiving over 300 cases of domestic violence from 2019 to June 2024. Despite increased involvement of women at the community level during the current period, their participation in decision-making roles remains below 30% of leadership roles.

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