We, the undersigned are extremely disturbed and appalled by the horrible and dangerous comments and threats made by the public towards Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, a 17-year old Malaysian student who recently called out a male Physical Education (Pendidikan Jasmani Kesihatan) teacher in her school for ‘joking’ about rape and implying to male students that it was alright to rape adult women and not minors. Ain shared her experience on TikTok, a video sharing app.
This TikTok video resulted in Ain receiving a rape threat from a student who also accused her of tainting the school’s image. Ain was also criticised for being “too emotional” and told that the incident should have been handled internally in the school.
Jokes about rape, lewd comments and body shaming on social media
Whilst Ain’s Tik Tok video received wide support from the public, it also unfortunately, has attracted backlash in the form of lewd and threatening comments on social media. The online harassment has subjected Ain to victim-blaming and sexual objectification. It also condemned her for not wearing the tudung.
Disturbingly, a majority of these comments were made by adult men including, allegedly, male school teachers. This is disgusting and brings shame to the teaching profession as teachers are role models to their students. If those comments were indeed by teachers, we demand that they are thoroughly investigated and action is taken against them. We must make schools safe for all students.
It is also appalling and shocking that Deputy Inspector General of Police, Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani normalises rape culture by stating that the police received a report from a student “regarding what may be a joke from her classmate, which she couldn’t accept.” This statement is insensitive and unacceptable coming especially from a senior law enforcer. Rape and rape jokes must be taken as direct threats to safety. Thus, we demand that the Deputy Inspector General of Police issue a formal apology for his unprofessional and insensitive statement that trivialises rape threats and undermines the fear and anxiety caused by sexual harassment.
We ask that this incident be a moment of education for everyone to unlearn sexism and reject any form of sexual harassment in our everyday lives and conversations. We demand accountability from teachers, schools, law enforcers and people who have caused harm to Ain. We do not support any form of retributive punishment or mob attack against anyone.
Solidarity with Ain Husniza
We unequivocally stand in solidarity with Ain Husniza and her #MakeSchoolASaferPlace movement. Ain has shown courage and determination by speaking out against this misogynistic toxic culture of normalising rape jokes, sexual grooming, toxic masculinity and paedophilia.
Her brave actions can create a positive ripple effect and encourage more students and youths to speak out against sexual harassment and all forms of degrading and discriminatory treatment of girl students in schools and other educational institutions.