PETALING JAYA: Victim shaming cannot be tolerated in today’s society, a women’s group told Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor after he suggested women make it a point to dress shabbily in public to avoid sexual harassment.
In a statement issued today, the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) said they were seeking “clarification” from the Federal Territories Minister if he was indeed suggesting victims of sexual harassment be punished instead of the men who harassed them.
Tengku Adnan, also known as Ku Nan, made the remark during a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) forum on May 17 in response to a question from a forum participant, who expressed her fear over the current lack of public safety.
“It is disheartening to hear from our country’s leader such a remark in this age and time,” the women’s group said, adding that the remark had “set a negative example for the nation, which had implied that ‘beautiful women’ are meant to be harassed in public.”
PWDC cited the alarming number of rape cases reported from 2006-2015 as revealed by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and Parliament and added that 7% of rape cases from 2013-2015 involved victims as young as 12 years and below.
“If we allow such victim shaming statements to continue, this and future generations will be stuck in a misogynistic culture,” they said.
They urged leaders of the country to reject the victim shaming culture and to identify the root causes of sexual harassment as well as provide remedial strategies.
To this end, the PWDC was proposing to set-up more one-stop crisis centres in the country, in a bid to provide timely and appropriate support to the victims.
They also said police and security officers must be trained to be more gender sensitive while handling rape and sexual harassment cases.
“Policy makers must put safety as a top priority, and not conveniently blame the victims.” -FMT