Rape culture is alive and well in Malaysia yet it is one of the topics that is discussed behind closed doors and through hushed whispers.
It was only after 17-year-old Ain Husniza’s brave series of Tik Toks exposing the alleged culture in her school and slamming her teachers for participating in the perpetuation of that culture, that Malaysians really took an interest and paid attention.
tw// R4P3 JOKES, VERBAL H4R4SSM3NT
— ain #MakeSchoolASaferPlace (@ant33ater) April 23, 2021
ICYMI, Ain’s Tik Toks have since gone viral and have even been picked up by international news outlets. Her honesty and sheer courage of rebelling against the status quo and speaking out for herself and other students, have received praise from many Malaysians, regardless of social standing.
Since then, investigations have spurred to further probe into her accusations and to ensure that rape jokes and any other elements of rape culture are abolished from schools with the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace.
While in the beginning Ain’s fight was to protect her fellow classmates, it has since been revealed that rape culture affects female teachers as well.
Her father, Saiful Nizam Abdul Wahab, 42, said that teachers have messaged him privately to reveal the names of the male teachers who have harassed them. According to him, the stories left him dumbfounded. He said,
“One told me that it’s common among teachers. So what I am doing is not just for my daughter Ain but for the well-being of our female teachers too.”
Other than that, the activist’s father has been fighting the good fight alongside her, accompanying his daughter to make police reports against boys her age who were threatening to rape her for speaking out.
He even called out men who were sexually harassing his daughter on Facebook and other social platforms after a photo of her on Malaysiakini’s headline started inciting lewd remarks.
He told Malay Mail that these “jokes” were made about his daughter’s body and that after exposing the perpetrators online, they swiftly contacted him to apologise. He said,
“Once I started that posting, I received numerous responses from both sides. Meaning that the first side were the audience who viewed the matter as something wrong and they helped by giving me information about those who left such comments.
“There were those who messaged me directly and the result was that some of these people who were exposed contacted me via Facebook and Whatsapp and apologised for what they said, adding that their wives were going amok at home!
“Some of them told me that their children were very angry after finding out and made a ruckus at home about their actions. When they apologised to me, they cried a lot and sincerely asked for forgiveness. Some of their wives also received criticisms from social media users,
“This gives a very satisfying result to me… as the aim is to educate and the education happened. They asked that I delete the posting about them, which I did.”
The father hopes that change will peak its head beyond the horizon. He said that he understands that this issue is deep rooted within our society and that change will not be immediate.
As a parent, he is worried about the safety of his children as well as for other children across Malaysia. He doesn’t want Ain to become another statistic therefore Malaysians from all generations must take part in inciting change and realising our mistakes by actively correcting them.
Saiful hopes to see the Sexual Harassment Bill become law which will pave the way for people to be more educated on rape culture.
Our children deserve better. School is supposed to be a safe haven, not a place for discomfort and harassment.
With immense support from Malaysians, hopefully rape culture will be put to an end for good.