Victims must be encouraged to share their story to create awareness of child sexual abuse.
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The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has condemned Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Senator Datuk Idris Ahmad.
JAG took Idris to task for saying a child actor should not have “shamed” her father and herself by exposing that he sexually abused her.
The group described the remark by Idris as “victim-blaming” comments when the right thing is to encourage survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to speak up.
These remarks from someone in a position of power and trust are extremely discouraging for all survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and contribute to its underreporting and fear of speaking out due to judgment and retaliation.JAG on the normalisation of the violence women and girls experience at home.
The Joint Action Group For Gender Equality (JAG) Statement: Malaysiam Government should uphold the gender equality principle by allowing Malaysian mothers to confer citizenship to their children born overseas #sayaJUGAanakMalaysia pic.twitter.com/j5ByaXRP1l— Sisters in Islam (@SistersinIslam) August 8, 2022
An Islamic Perspective
Idris had commented the child actor should not have exposed the abuse publicly as per Islamic teachings.
The PAS vice-president said Islam teaches against disgracing oneself (menutup aib sendiri) and that such abuse should not be told to the public.
Harian Metro quoted Idris saying she should have lodged a police report and let them investigate the case.
Saya ditanyakan wartawan berkenaan isu yang tular apabila seorang pelakon cilik yang mendedahkan isu yang berlaku kepada dirinya dan ibunya. Saya juga mengambil maklum atas tularan yang sedang diperbualkan warga netizen. pic.twitter.com/tZ2iDhD5bc— Ustaz Idris Ahmad (@ustaz_idris) September 8, 2022
JAG said the minister’s comments violated the Child Act 2001 and Sexual Offences against Children (Soaca) 2017.
JAG added that the Prime Minister’s Department is supposed to ensure that provisions in the Soaca to protect children were implemented.
Under the Child Act 2001, a family member must inform a Social Welfare Officer if there is a reasonable belief of sexual abuse.
By asking victims to keep quiet, it is against the core values of Malaysian laws and government SOPs.
It would also result in more sexual violence against children perpetrated by adults, including family members.
JAG said that a 42 per cent increase in child sexual abuse cases was recorded between 2020 and 2021, usually involving perpetrators the victim knows.
Stop Silencing Survivors Of Child Abuse — JAG— Ova (@ovahealth) September 9, 2022
Data from the Royal Malaysia Police has revealed that most child sexual abuse cases involves perpetrators the victim knows, most often their biological or step fathers.https://t.co/4WPCHwm9vS
JAG concluded by insisting that the Prime Minister’s Department, the police, and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry make their position clear.
It added that protecting children is a matter that Malaysian voters will take seriously.
The Women’s Aid Org (WAO) and All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) will support you if you or a woman you know is living with or at risk of violence.
WAO’s tel. 603-7956-3488 and SMS +6018-988-8058 and AWAM’s tel: 016-237-4221