A 26-year-old dance instructor in Selangor has shared her experience of being sexually harassed by her boss in hopes of encouraging other victims to talk about their troubles
In a video uploaded to Facebook on 12 June, Ker Qian detailed how the whole ordeal began in April this year when the father of one of her former students told her that he had recently invested in opening a new dance studio in Denai Alam.
The married man wanted to hire her as a dance instructor and a studio owner because he knew she was someone who was passionate about dancing, loved children, and needed an income.
However, after visiting the studio and having a chat with him, Ker Qian said she did not immediately trust him and, instead, decided to work for him short-term as an instructor at the studio for an initial six months.
The man told her to take on a manager role instead, to which she agreed and began working in May
Her first jobs included learning how to track attendance and recruiting other dance instructors.
However, from the get-go, she noticed his requirements for employment were "odd". He said he only wanted female instructors who are between the ages of 18 and 25. The third requirement was that they have to come from broken families or need money urgently.
When Ker Qian asked him about the conditions, the man explained that it was because people who needed money would be more passionate and serious in their job.
In June, Ker Qian said things suddenly became "extreme" when he told her that she was ready for the next step of his training
The man first told her that she had to keep all of their Zoom meetings and WhatsApp conversations confidential, so he would prefer if she was alone in her room whenever he was talking to her.
In the video she posted on Facebook, Ker Qian showed screenshots purportedly of the WhatsApp conversations between the man and herself.
He then told her that it was rude that she had been calling him only by name and asked her to show him more respect by calling him "master".
"To help [the right mindset], you can greet me as 'master' from now onwards and I will greet you as 'dog slave'. It will solidify the process," read one of the messages he allegedly sent her.
The man said it was important because of a "12 times, 12 weeks" methodology to have a better mindset for success.
He said she had to repeat to herself 12 times a day for 12 weeks: "I am Ker Qian. I am [the man's] dog. I must 100% listen to [the man]."
When he told her this, she laughed, but the man told her that it was not funny and was based on overseas research. He said if she wanted to be successful within two month's time, she needed to trust him.
Besides all that, the man also instructed Ker Qian to update him on everything she was doing and anywhere she went — including whenever she was going to sleep, eat, or shower
It will be easier to work together, he said.
At that point, Ker Qian began to draw a line and told the man that all of that was her private business.
However, he replied, "A successful person never has privacy; there's no such thing as private time or time to themselves."
She noted that he also began calling her names such as 'slave' and 'bitch'.
After voicing her discomfort out to him with all the new rules, the man then chided her and called her childish for thinking so
In a video call on the same day, the man told Ker Qian that a successful person would never have this kind of mentality.
"If you want to be successful, you have to be 100% empty and 100% obedient to me," he told her.
He then said if she could so willingly "give her body and make out" with her ex-boyfriends just because they bought her flowers or brought her to the movies, he wondered why could she not give her body to him for giving her a bright future.
Ker Qian said she kept quiet as he continued talking.
He asked, "Why are you acting so distant from me? I'm a capable person, and also very rich. If today I asked you to suck my c--k, you should do it comfortably, happy, and proudly, right?"
At that point, Ker Qian just kept quiet with him but she knew things were wrong and called up a friend for advice after the video call.
After being convinced that it was sexual harassment, Ker Qian came up with a plan to record some proof before going to the police
On 7 June, she recorded the audio of a Zoom meeting she had with him — a recording which she said she brought to the police and was also shared in her cautionary video.
In the recording, a man can be heard telling her, "It is important to be grateful... Grateful is something that you need to repay in any way you can."
"It's okay to have admiration towards the person who is teaching you. There's nothing wrong with that. Don't have to feel shy about it. While serving me, you should feel proud."
"Now you have the opportunity and the chance [to serve me], and also able to utilise your mind, body, and soul to do it. Then shouldn't you be grateful and appreciate this opportunity and be 100% owned by me?"
"You don't have to be shy with me. To put it bluntly, treat me as though I am your boyfriend. You can treat me like that, where you can share everything."
Ker Qian said she has since reported the whole incident to the police, who are currently investigating her case
At the end of the 13-minute video, Ker Qian hoped that her sharing would encourage other people who have faced sexual harassment, be it women or men, to not be afraid to talk about the problem or report it to the police.
She urged victims to be brave in facing the problem and to not hesitate to seek help from their friends and family.
"After this incident, I felt lonely and useless because I thought it was all my fault. But my friend reminded me it wasn't, that it was the perpetrator's, and I was just there to earn a living," she said.
"Don't face these things alone. None of us ever want [sexual harrassment] to happen to us," she added, reminding victims that they are never at fault.
These Malaysian organisations aim to help survivors of rape and sexual assault:
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
6. PROTECT AND SAVE THE CHILDREN (PS THE CHILDREN)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (8.30am to 5.30pm)
Contact: +6016-2273065 | +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.
Last year, a survey found that a majority of Malaysian women have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment at the workplace: