We need to #MakeSchoolASaferPlace for ALL students.
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A schoolgirl Ain, 17, recently revealed on Twitter that her male teacher made rape jokes during a Physical Education class.
According to her, the teacher explained there were many laws protecting sexual abuse against minors, hence you should “rape girls when they are older than 18, not the ones younger than 18”.
Allegedly, the teacher also said that if boys were raped, they wouldn’t report it because it feels good for them.
The video quickly went viral on Malaysian social media over the weekend, as Ain revealed the deep-seated sexism and tolerence for sexual harassment that exists in our school system.
‘You’re emotional and sensitive because you’re a girl’
After her initial shock at the male teacher’s rape joke, she reached out to her counselling teacher for help. Shockingly, the counselling teacher dismissed her completely.
this is what my councelling teacher said when i referred to him. pic.twitter.com/oZsjjo12Hb— ain #MakeSchoolASaferPlace (@ant33ater) April 24, 2021
According to a screenshot of texts shared, the counsellor told her that male teachers tend to teach to male students, and that it was normal to joke like that.
Additionally, the counsellor also said that Ain was being too emotional and sensitive because she is a girl, and then proceed to suggest a therapy session.
Later on, this counsellor also attempted to rationalize the teacher’s behaviour. He stated that while what the teacher said is wrong, different teachers have different teaching styles.
Taking it to the police and taking on the backlash
Ain’s father then took her to the police station so she could lodge a police report.
In a Facebook post, her father Saiful Nizam recounted how immediately after, he and his daughter received backlash from school authorities, teachers, fellow parents, and other students for the action.
yes…i..got a rape threat from one of my male schoolmates at school.— ain #MakeSchoolASaferPlace (@ant33ater) April 25, 2021
Many claimed that the family had disgraced the name of the school by lodging the police report. Many more claimed that such rape jokes were common and should be taken as just a joke.
Later on, another schoolteacher from Ain’s school allegedly claimed that Ain is autistic in an attempt to invalidate her response on the matter.
EXCUSE ME, we’re not in the 90’s la malaysia. even if im autistic doesnt mean im stupid? Have you even heard of Greta Thunberg? Even she has aspergers. STOP LA STEREOTYPES CMNI, YOU ARE TEACHERS. theres so much things wrong with the education system rn idek where to start. pic.twitter.com/rrZpQPBMN5— ain #MakeSchoolASaferPlace (@ant33ater) April 26, 2021
According to screenshots shared to Ain, her schoolteacher claimed that Ain (and the internet) never bothered to listen to the male teacher’s point of view, saying that if the male teacher had truly done something wrong, then he will have received due punishment.
However, they are not alone
While there were people who criticized the family for “taking a joke too seriously”, others flooded to support them. Ain’s Twitter hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace was trending the whole weekend, with many fellow female students stepping up to share their stories of experiencing similar instances of sexual harrassment.
Ain’s father is also supportive of her, saying that she has a right to feel safe in her school environment.
This issue garnered a lot of attention from various groups. It has become a starting point for real change in our education institutions so that we can provide and build quality education for future generations.Saiful Nizam is positive that this awareness will lead to positive changes.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.