सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Not my burden of shame: Malaysia's apathy in tackling problem of sexual harassment

By Jeswan Kaur* 

"There was no such thing as child abuse. Parents owned their children. They could do whatever they wanted." -- actress Ellen Burstyn
Condemning, judging and humiliating - it this the very nature of people in general or is this what Malaysians are best known for?
When a 15-year-old actress recently made a damning revelation that she was molested as a child by her perverted father, support was far from coming.
Instead, many name shamed Puteri Nuraaina Balqis, calling her "stupid" and rebuking her for seeking cheap publicity by insulting her father. They "advised" her to pray more, "be thankful to her father for bringing her into this world and remember that she would be given something by Allah for insulting her father."
Would any of those who condemned Puteri Balqis "enjoy" being molested, raped or sexually harassed? Would they fancy calling their house a sanctuary when safety was no where in sight?
Do these insensitive individuals understand the fear and damage a child goes through each time she is sexually violated. Puteri Balqis is not alone. I too have endured the horror of living in a house where perversion reigned.
I was sexually harassed by the biological father from a very young age. Making his way into my room while i was still in bed, plastering the wall of his room with naked or scantily-dressed women, making obscene remarks about women be it at the local gurdwara (Sikh temple) or bragging that he could f*** his wife anytime he wanted, the man is a blot i have chosen to remove from my life.
Did my mother stand up for my dignity and chastise her husband and son? No. She instead chose to look away. My misery came to an end when i found myself a job in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur at the age of 21.
Was I relieved at getting out of my home state? No, because i had to leave my younger sister behind. Was she spared such violation? Not until she too managed to leave the 'porn studio' called house.
Puteri Balqis and i owe no one our peace of mind. Whilst i am unapologetic about it, I hope this youngster feels the same.
Our pain is not unfamiliar. While she at a very young age has the guts to go public with her nightmare which ruffled many a feathers including that of religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad, it took me years before i made my way to the police to seek redress.
Idris would have a field day had the girl kept her mouth shut and instead left it to the police and law to take its course.
I had turned to politicians like Maria Chin, a former women's rights activist and lawyer Kasthuri Patto and both were uninterested in offering support. The same could be said of a women's right organisation. A former editor said I should not go public with my case for it would only serve to victimise me.
Did any of these women endure years of insomnia and deep rooted grief as a result of repeated sexual harassment and violation faced as a child and teenager? I did and that was enough to push me to finally speak up about this troubling episode of my life.

Don't judge if you're ignorant

It is sad that Malaysians enjoy theatrics but lack guts. Their cowardice was apparent when 99 percent of the population rolled up their sleeves to be Covid-19 vaccinated citing one too many excuses as to why they 'had" to be jabbed with the killer vaccines.
It is this silent victim attitude that politicans hope will continue to flourish if the irresponsible remark of a Cabinet minister is anything to go by.
Malaysia's Communication and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa saw no rhyme or reason for the issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry to be given unnecessary attention.
This was in November 2021 when Mingguan Malaysia quoted Annuar as saying industry players should prioritise positive things over isolated issues that allegedly occurred.
“I don’t think the issue needs to be magnified. Focus on the positives from isolated cases."
Annuar reportedly said this when asked to comment on damning revelations of some industry players that artists, celebrities and production crews faced the onslaught of sexual harassment.
No surprise than why Malaysia has never bothered legislating sexual harassment until only recently when a miserably created Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill was passed.
Malaysian actor Namron had voiced his concern that sexual harassment in the industry affects both women and men.
Fellow artiste Sharifah Amani pointed out the issue which had long been "festering" in the industry, also plagued the production crew.
Malaysian Artistes Association (Seniman) president Zed Zaidi was quoted as saying the party had not been made aware of the issue owing to the fear of a backlash coming the complainants way.
Zed's take on no complaints were made to Seniman is a no-brainer given that he himself is an actor of many years. Feigning ignorance for reasons best known to him does not augur well for both Seniman and his credibility.
In Malaysia's politicial sphere, Annuar is not the only politician with a brazen and uncouth understanding of sexual harassment. In April 2008, then federal minister Jamaluddin Jarjis sexually harassed a female worker of a restaurant at a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
The worker promptly lodged a police report against Jamaluddin only to retract the statutory declaration within hours.
As for Jamaluddin, he was despatched to America as Malaysia's ambassador. The minister died in a chopper crash in 2015 leaving behind properties worth RM2.1 billion and zero answers as to how he had amassed such wealth on a politician's wage.
In 2009 when Labour Department director-general Ismail Abdul Rahim commented that having a Sexual Harassment Act “could lead to a dull and rigid environment in the workplace” you are left wondering what was the civil servant up to?
Malaysia's Members of Parliament have repeatedly brought shame on the House and themselves through their pervasive remarks which went so far as to touch on the female menstrual cycle.

Malaysia's apathetic stance

Malaysia's apathy in tackling the problem of sexual harassment led to the death of track and field star athlete Rabia Abdul Salam who committed suicide at the age of 20 on February 25, 1994 claiming she had been sexually harassed by her coach, P. Ramanathan.
Does Malaysia ever think of Rabia and her angst at not knowing how to deal with her predicament? Had Rabia the courage to publicly speak about the sexual violation she faced, would she ostracised or condemned?
When former Israeli president Moshe Katsav who on Dec 30, 2010, was convicted of two accounts of rape, sexual harassment and indecent acts, then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu unequivocally said the conviction marked a “sad day for the state of Israel and its residents”.
Netanyahu said the judgement relayed two very clear messages, “that all are equal before the law and every woman has exclusive rights to her body”.
In Malaysia, an irony that Rabia's death has brought about no change of mindset among the people and politicians when women who have been sexually violated dare the State and system for justice.
Rabia remains yet another name in the list of those who suffered in silence because sexual harassment as a crime in Malaysia is not treated with the severity needed.
As with rape, women are held at ransom by the authorities should they defy all odds and voice out the trauma endured.
Puteri Balqis and I should know too well. While she severed ties with her paedophile father, I chose to put an end to any semblance to the biological family i was born into. Was there a price to pay? Yes, when my younger sister decided she wanted to have nothing to do with me for reasons best known to her.
I hope Puteri Balqis has no regrets. I certainly have none except that my name as per the birth documents, Jeswant Kaur a/p Hardeep Singh, is an excruciating reminder that parents are not always the safe haven you assume they are.
---
*Freelance journalist based in Malaysia

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

18થી નાની ઉંમરના 1,15,129 બાળકો શાળા બહાર? વાસ્તવિક આંકડો 15-20 ગણો વધું

- સુખદેવ પટેલ*  16 એપ્રિલથી સમગ્ર ગુજરાતમાં શાળા બહારના 6 થી 19 વર્ષની ઉંમરના બાળકોનો સર્વે શરૂ થયો છે.  જે 26 એપ્રિલ સુધી ચાલશે. જેની જવાબદારી સરકારી શાળાના શિક્ષકોને સોંપવામાં આવી છે. અત્યારે પ્રાથમિક શાળાઓમાં વાર્ષિક પરીક્ષાઓ ચાલી રહી છે. લોકસભાની ચૂંટણીઓના કામ પણ શિક્ષકોને ભાગે કરવાના આવશે. શિક્ષકો કેટલું કરી શક્શે? શિક્ષકો પાસેથી વ્યાજબી રીતે કેટલી અપેક્ષાઓ રાખવી જોઈએ? RTE ની જોગવાઈઓ મુજબ દરેક બાળક શિક્ષણ મેળવી શકે, તે માટે શાળા બહારના બાળકોને સર્વે કરીને શોધી કાઢવાનું ઉમદા કામ સરકાર વિચારે છે, તે આવકારદાયક છે. આવાં ઉત્તમ કામમાં જેમને સીધો લાભ થવાનો છે,  તેવાં હિતધારકોની પ્રતિનિધિ સમિતિ SMC સ્કૂલ મેનેજમેન્ટ કમિટી આ જવાબદારી સારી રીતે ઉપાડી શકે તેમ છે. શિક્ષણ વિભાગ SSA તરફથી આ કામગીરીમાં SMC ની ભાગીદારીનું આયોજન કરીને યોગ્ય માર્ગદર્શિકા તૈયાર કરવી જોઈએ.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं को मजबूत करने के बजाय बीमा आधारित सेवाओं को प्राथमिकता क्यों?

- राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य अधिकार अभियान  वैश्विक स्तर पर “विश्व स्वास्थ्य दिवस” इस साल “हमारा स्वास्थ्य, हमारा अधिकार” की अवधारणा को केन्द्रित कर मनाया जा रहा है। इस उपलक्ष्य में राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर स्वास्थ्य अधिकार संघर्ष को मजबूत करने के लिए, संवैधानिक और नीतिगत रूप में स्वास्थ्य को मौलिक अधिकार बनाने के लिए, स्वास्थ्य के विभिन्न आयामों को लोगों के हक के लिए संगठित करने, जागरूक करने और स्वास्थ्य के मानकों पर कार्य करने हेतु तथा सरकार को जनता के प्रति जिम्मेदार बनाने हेतु जन आंदोलनों के राष्ट्रीय समन्वय ने स्वास्थ्य अधिकार अभियान के माध्यम से जनता के पक्ष को मजबूत करने के लिए राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर स्वास्थ्य अधिकार के मुद्दे पर सक्रिय रूप से कार्य करेगा।

અમદાવાદ પોલિસ કમિશનરનું જાહેરનામું: નાગરિક સ્વાતંત્ર્ય પર તરાપ મારવાની પ્રક્રિયાનો એક ભાગ

- હેમંતકુમાર શાહ  અમદાવાદના પોલિસ કમિશનરનું લોકશાહી વિરોધી વધુ એક પગલું ચૂંટણી ટાણે જોવા મળ્યું છે.   તા. ૧૬-૦૪-૨૦૨૪ના રોજ તેમણે એક જાહેરનામું બહાર પાડીને ફોજદારી કાર્યવાહી અધિનિયમ-૧૯૭૩ની કલમ-૧૪૪ આખા શહેરમાં લાગુ કરી જણાવ્યું છે કે "કોઈ પણ પ્રચારપ્રસાર રેલી દરમ્યાન કોઈ એ કાળા વાવટા ફરકાવવા નહિ કે ઉશ્કેરણીજનક બેનર કે પ્લે કાર્ડ બતાવવું નહિ અથવા કોઈ વિરોધમાં ઉશ્કેરણીજનક સૂત્રોચ્ચાર કરવો નહિ."

न नौकरियाँ, न पर्याप्त मजदूरी, न राहत: अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों के लिए मोदी की विरासत

- प्रतिनिधि द्वारा  भारत में वास्तविक मज़दूरी 2014-15 के बाद से नहीं बढ़ी है, जबकि देश की जीडीपी जरूर बेहतर हुई है। इस दौरान देश की सामाजिक सुरक्षा व्यवस्था भी थम सी गई है। देश के अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों का जीवन बेहद अनिश्चित है, खासकर झारखंड जैसे राज्यों में जहां अनौपचारिक रोजगार लाखों लोगों की आजीविका का मुख्य स्रोत है।

क्या कांग्रेस का घोषणापत्र मुस्लिम लीग की सोच को प्रतिबिंबित करता है?

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