Recently, 17-year old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam had alleged that a male teacher made rape jokes in class while discussing the issue of sexual harassment during the physical education and health subject at her school. Ain made this exposé through a video on her TikTok account, which she later shared on Twitter.
Her original post on Twitter was accompanied by the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace, in which she called out public figures such as former education minister Maszlee Malik, cartoonist Zunar and celebrity actress and singer Adibah Noor, to support the cause. Now, the hashtag has become more than just that and has in fact resulted in members of the public coming forward to share their own personal experience about similar incidents in school. The hashtag has also seen many independent artists, as well as politicians, come together and stand with Ain to pushback against such lewd remarks.
Local comedian Harith Iskander said: “I stand with bravery” and “This makes me angry”.
Parti Pejuang Tanah Air president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said:
“Harapkan pegar, pegar makan padi. Students & teachers alike need to be taught to be gendersensitive & avoid any hint of sexual abuse. Even innuendos are a no no”.
Despite many who supported Ain, there were many who began to criticize her. One in particular would be the comment made by her own school principal, Sarimah Mohammed Nor, who called Ain a “child of the devil wearing a headscarf” (“anak setan pakai tudung”). Many claim that the comment was not made by the principal herself but was instead made by her autistic son, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has also urged for action to be taken against the person, believed to be a headmistress, for her comments.
This is quite sad, considering how teachers and educators should safeguard students welfare and make them feel protected. Instead, some irresponsible teachers are making hurtful and sensitive “jokes” like rape and sexual assault.
Regarding Ain’s claims, the police and the ministry are looking into the validity of the claims and the education minister clarified that while pending investigations, the teacher shall be allowed to continue teaching.
“This has become a police case, but we are also investigating if it really happened and if there is a case, strict and appropriate action will be taken.”
– Education Minister Radzi Jidin –
Ain’s actions and persistence to call on the government for change despite being threatened to be expelled from her school is proof that Malaysian youths are no longer afraid to demand for their voices to be heard. Someone has to advocate for change in order to stop such incidents from recurring. A joke is a joke only when both people are laughing. If the “joke” hurts the other person’s feelings, then that is already crossing the line.
Photo: Malay Mail