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Stop Normalising Harassment in Schools, Hold Perpetrators Accountable
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) urges the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to take prompt action to address the issues of harassment in schools and to put an end to institutionalised rape culture. It must be ensured that schools remain safe spaces for all students and reports of harassment or sexual violence of any kind must be addressed.
The MoE’s request for evidence despite the many accounts from girls on period checks conducted by teachers, and the response to the police reports made by a 17-year-old student against her male teacher who “joked” about rape and fellow schoolmate who sent rape threats is proof of how the system consistently protects perpetrators. It is distressing that there is clear, institutional disregard for the safety of the children and a disempowering practice of disbelieving survivors.
Authorities officially alluding to the rape threats as a joke is symptomatic of normalised rape culture. These threats are also a form of sexual harrasment, which is a product of rape culture. This acceptance at the highest levels perpetuates practices of violence against women, and diminishes the effectiveness of reporting mechanisms.
In light of this, we urgently call on the relevant ministries and authorities to stop the normalisation of rape culture and harrasment in schools and address the practice of disbelieving survivors. Additionally, safe reporting practices for survivors of violence or harassment who come forward must be established, and investigations must be conducted in a transparent and survivor centric manner. We must hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, rather than absolving them from responsibility and placing blame on survivors.
Teachers, as figures of authority and role models in school, carry ethical responsibilities to protect students and ensure responsible messaging. Teacher training programs must take seriously sexual harassment guidelines and rectify gaps to make school a safer place for our children.
About Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
Since 1982, Women’s Aid Organisation has provided free shelter, counselling, and crisis support to women and children who experience abuse. We help women and their children rebuild their lives, after surviving domestic violence, rape, trafficking, and other atrocities. Learning from women’s experiences, we advocate to improve public policies and shift public mindsets. Together, we change lives.
Call the WAO Hotline at 03 3000 8858 or SMS/WhatsApp TINA at 018 988 8058 if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse. For more information, visit wao.org.my.
For more information, please contact:
Rusni Tajari, Senior Advocacy Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org / 60133802287
Kiran Kaur, Advocacy Officer
email@example.com / 60167233247
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