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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Senator under fire for asking for law to protect men from being seduced

PETALING JAYA: A women’s rights body has condemned a PKR senator’s call for the enactment of a sexual harassment law to protect men from being seduced into committing crimes such as rape, saying “moral policing” has simply not worked in the past.
The All Women’s Action Society (Awam) said it was unacceptable for Mohd Imran Abd Hamid to claim that men can be influenced to commit acts like rape, molestation and incest.
“After all, it is the perpetrator who must take responsibility for their own actions,” it said in a statement today.
“The idea that victims are unable to access justice or demand some form of redress after undergoing such a dehumanising experience simply adds to the creation of a culture of fear and violence,” it added.
Senator Imran, earlier today in the Dewan Negara, was reported to have said that men need to be protected because the actions and clothing of women can seduce them into breaking the law.
But Awam said a person’s dress is not the reason why children are molested or why people rape.
In retrospect, it said all moral policing has achieved is that when someone is raped or harassed, “the people in charge” start saying things like “Why did you wear such a bright lipstick?”, or “Why did you wear jeans?”.
Awam also said that gender-based violence doesn’t always stem from desire and lust, but power and objectification.
“It is the power, privilege and permission given by society when the people in charge fail to properly address the violence when rapists go free or marry their victims and when children are sold into marriage to ease the family’s financial burden.
“It is about power, control and saying that ‘I can do this to you’,” it added.
Awam also said it recently held a survey of 35 schoolgirls, aged 14-17, where more than 60% claimed they were sexually harassed verbally. They were also the target of sexual innuendos.
“The key point here is that almost all the girls surveyed were wearing the hijab and usually dressed modestly.”
Awam said while a Sexual Harassment Act was needed, it wasn’t just because women needed special privileges but because everyone, regardless of gender, deserves to live in dignity and without fear of their personal safety.
Imran, in proposing the sexual harassment law to protect men, said: “This is important, we men need to be protected. The actions, clothing of women can seduce us into breaking the law and causing us to be charged with a crime.
“I ask that the minister consider this so that the men in this country are safe and the country is peaceful,” the retired Navy admiral and former Lumut MP was reported to have told the Dewan Negara today. - FMT

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