KUALA LUMPUR - Domestic violence will continue to happen as long as the victims are reluctant to seek justice for themselves, said Mrs Universe 2013 Carol Lee.
She said many women were embarrassed to come forward to report such cases, especially in the rural areas because of the stigma attached to domestic violence. They will rather sweep the problem under the carpet and pretend that all is well.
Lee, the first Asian to win the Mrs Universe crown, believes the abuse will stop only when victims become proactive about their welfare.
"Some women love their spouses too much and refuse to report domestic violence.
"They assume, over time, the abuse will stop.
"But the abuse will only stop when the victim takes the first step of finding a solution to end the abuse," said Lee, who is working on a nationwide campaign against domestic violence with All Women's Action Society (Awam).
The campaign is funded by KL Sogo.
The theme of the Mrs Universe 2013 pageant was "Stop Domestic Violence".
Its finals was held at The Westin Aruba Resort in Palm Beach, the Caribbean on Aug 11.
The news presenter and former talk show host beat 32 contestants to clinch the title.
She also won the subsidiary title, Mrs Popularity.
Lee said her involvement with the campaign started last October.
Besides preparing physically for the pageant, she had to know about domestic violence in Malaysia.
"At the finals, we had to participate in a forum on domestic violence and the top three finalists were chosen by how well they performed.
"When I first started with Awam, I was clueless what domestic violence was.
"Eventually, I learned about the many types of abuse and the Domestic Violence Act 2011.
"We embarked on a five-state tour to speak at meetings, forums and also to victims.
"The tour was where I learned the most about domestic violence."
On winning the Mrs Universe 2013 pageant, Lee said life now was not all about glitz and glamour.