Education Ministry Pledges To Review And Fix The Standard 3 'Victim-Shaming' Textbook

A page in the textbook perpetuates the "shaming" of sexual harassment victims.

Cover image via Sumisha Naidu/Twitter & Farhan Najib/Malay Mail (edited)

After complaints from parents and others on social media about an infographic in a Standard 3 Physical and Health Education textbook that it perpetuates the "shaming" of sexual harassment victims, the Education Ministry says it is taking necessary actions to fix it

In page 67 of the textbook, there's an infographic on "protecting one's modesty" that many believe could be construed as encouraging "victim-blaming".

The page, titled "Saving modesty," was first highlighted by a Facebook user Azrul Mohd Khalib, who tagged Hannah Yeoh and addressed Dr Maszlee Malik in his post.

The lesson revolves around a fictional character of a young girl called Amira.

In it, Amira's parents are said to be constantly advising her on the need to protect the modesty of her sexual parts by dressing modestly, closing the room door when changing clothes and avoiding quiet places when she is alone.

Below that illustration, the page lists the consequences should Amira fail to do so.

It claimed that she would be ashamed of herself and experience emotional disturbances, be shunned by her friends and bring shame to her family's honour.

According to Bernama, it is published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and supplied to all national and national-type Tamil schools for 2019.

Yesterday, 15 January, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, while addressing the matter, had said a follow-up will be made

"It is not right to blame the victims. A follow-up will be done as soon as possible to fix this," she wrote in her Facebook post, accompanying a photo of the textbook page.

"Together, let’s educate our children the right way," Teo added in the post.

Later on Tuesday itself, the Education Ministry released a statement saying it has decided to improve the textbook's content by issuing a corrigendum in the form of a QR code that would be uploaded on 17 January to inform teachers, students, and parents

"Corrigendum in the form of a sticker will also be printed and distributed to all relevant schools, including Tamil national-type primary schools (SJKT), starting 29 January.

"Letters on the matter will be issued and sent to all schools to inform them about these improvements," the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Image via SAYS

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