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NGO: Malaysian Government Should Prepare A Roadmap To Sexual Harassment Bill

11 non-governmental organisations are urging the government and other relevant authorities to protect the safety of students during these unprecedented times.

Cover image via Nadine Shaabana/Unsplash

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The recent upheaval of sexual harassment cases in public and private institutions such as schools and universities, which contribute to hostile learning environments for students, has been rising of late

The government needs to act on this issue by focusing on ways to protect and support our students but the postponement of Sexual Harassment Bill due to closure of Parliament is not helping in any way.

Therefore we urge the government and other relevant authorities to further prepare a Roadmap to Sexual Harassment Bill in order to protect the safety of students during these unprecedented times.

The recommendations of the Roadmap to Sexual Harassment Bill include:

1. Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign should be adopted as a national agenda in an effort to shift socio-cultural misconceptions towards sexual harassment. The campaign should aim to increase the awareness of sexual harassment and its impact towards survivors in Malaysia, with a focus on ending sexual harassment behaviors, whether it is targeted to a person or general sexual harassment that happened in the environment such as catcalling, which both carry the harmful effects to the survivors.

2. Malaysian government and the educational institutions such as schools and universities should collaborate to create a transparent, principled national reporting mechanism, allowing the students to report against perpetrators currently employed in the educational sector. The offender must also be suspended from employment while investigations are being concluded. This will allow relevant authorities to investigate through a proper standard operating procedure that is neither discretionary nor arbitrary according to the educational institution.

3. Malaysian government is to set up an independent body to exercise an autonomous control over regulating and monitoring a proper reporting and investigation process of the complaint. This will prevent cases from being concealed or ignored by the relevant agencies for public relations purposes through legal settlements and/or alternative dispute resolution measures. Furthermore, the independent body will facilitate a proper and just action to be taken against the perpetrators.

4.  Malaysian government should provide and/or subsidise the cost for mental health treatment for sexual harassment survivors to recover from the traumatic experience if so desired by the survivor. Professional mental health services are not affordable for many students, and there have been reported cases of biased counsellors adding secondary trauma for the survivor. Hence, providing and/or subsidising mental health costs at their professional centre of choosing can assist the students to heal and return to their normal routine.

We hope that the Malaysian government will take the sexual harassment complaints among students in their institutions more seriously in order to build a safer environment for the current and next generation

#SaferWorldForGirlsandWomen

Signatories:

- StandUp Malaysia
- YPolitics
- All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
- Family Frontiers
- The NOEO Project
- Sarawak Women For Women Society
- SAWO Sabah
- Time To Talk
- 111 Initiative
- Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
- MISI Solidariti 

This story is the personal opinion of the writer. You too can submit a story as a SAYS reader by emailing us at [email protected]

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or assault, please reach out to these Malaysian organisations:

1. WOMEN'S AID ORGANISATION (WAO)
Operating hours: 24-hour
Contact: +603-30008858
SMS/WhatsApp: +6018-9888058
Website | Facebook | Twitter

2. ALL WOMEN'S ACTION SOCIETY (AWAM)
Operating hours: Weekdays (9.30am - 4.30pm)
Contact: +603-78770224
WhatsApp: +6016-2284221 | +6016-2374221
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

3. WOMEN'S CENTRE FOR CHANGE PENANG (WCC PENANG)
Operating hours: Weekdays (9am - 5pm)
Contact: +604-2280342 | +604-3988340
WhatsApp: +6011-31084001 | +6016-4390698
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

4. SARAWAK WOMEN FOR WOMEN SOCIETY (SWWS)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (9am to 5.30pm)
Contact: +6082-422660
SMS/WhatsApp: +6013-8044285
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

5. SABAH WOMEN'S ACTION-RESOURCE GROUP (SAWO)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (9am to 2pm)
Contact: +6088-280200
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

6. PROTECT AND SAVE THE CHILDREN (PS THE CHILDREN)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (8.30am to 5.30pm)
Contact: +6016-2273065 | +6016-7213065
WhatsApp: +6016-7213065
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

7. INTERNET WATCH FOUNDATION (IWF)
Anonymously and confidentially report child sexual abuse content and non-photographic child sexual abuse images with IWF's Reporting Portal.

Recently, over 15 students spoke to SAYS about an alleged sexual harasser at UiTM Dengkil:

Malaysia has seen a wave of sexual harassment allegations against perpetrators from various industries:

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