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Stop Blaming the Victims

Posted: 11 Jul 2013 09:30 AM PDT


Instead of standing in solidarity with women and other persons who have had their dignity – and sometimes lives - forcibly taken from them, this woman choses to exonerate the aggressor and vilify the victim. 

Leroy Luar


Once when I was in Form 2, I was attacked by a senior student who had befriended me several weeks earlier. It was still dark out and I had gone to school early that day to get some last minute homework done. When I first noticed that he was in the classroom with me, I thought nothing about it. We were friends, weren't we? But when he came up to me, picked me up (I was a really small kid) and began to hump me from behind, I knew I was in serious trouble. He was literally twice my size and even though I struggled for all I was worth, I just couldn't wriggle out of his bear hug until he was done with me.

A friend of mine even walked in on us in the middle of the attack and I remember shouting at him to go get help but by the time he came back with someone, the attacker had already released me and left the classroom. Even though I reported the incident to the discipline teacher, I never said a word to my parents for fear that I would get into trouble. The fact that the teacher did nothing further reinforced my fear that I had done something wrong.

Imagine my horror upon finding out this morning that an elected assemblywoman from PAS has called for1 stricter enforcement to prevent women from dressing "indecently" in public, in order to curb sexual crimes. In her speech, Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, the party's Rantau Panjang MP declared in Parliament that short pants and short skirts were among the factors that contributed to crimes of a sexual nature.

Comments like these are ignorant and insulting at best, dangerous and malicious at worst, and even more so when made by a woman. Instead of standing in solidarity with women and other persons who have had their dignity – and sometimes lives - forcibly taken from them, this woman choses to exonerate the aggressor and vilify the victim.

For victims of a sexual assault are precisely that – victims. Any insinuation that these victims had anything to do with the assault – that they had somehow earned the attack through their dressing, behaviour or gender – does nothing but pour salt into an already festering wound.

[Take the survey at http://goo.gl/5TuKY: "What Were You Wearing When it Happened? - Anonymous fact finding to debunk existing anecdotal external causes (i.e. dressing, behaviour, gender, sexual orientation, etc...) to sexual assault (rape, incest, molest, etc...)"]

In recent reports2, close to 100 women have fallen victim to "rampant" sexual attacks in Cairo's Tahrir Square during four days of protests against Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi. In a harrowing recount by assault victim Yasmine El Baramawy, she recalls her attackers who "tore at my clothes like savage animals and tried to pull down my trousers. I felt hands all over my body."

According to her, more than 100 men hit her with clubs and waved knives around her – 'punishment' for her audacity in joining the protestors who had congregated last November in protest of constitutional changes, made by now deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Not once in the reports that came after attributed her attack to the manner of her dressing or raised the question of her decency or lack thereof.

Closer to home3, the Malaysian Police recently arrested three handball players on charges of raping a female officer of the women's handball squad at the Sukma Games Village in Malaysia. The victim alleged that she was raped on Wednesday at the sports village in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) situated in Serdang district. National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong said at a press conference on Sunday that the 19-year-old woman was in a semi-conscious state when she was repeatedly raped in a hostel room at the university. I note again that not once in any of the reports that came after was her dressing or morality alluded to.

Move further back into our not so distant past and we can very easily recall sensational case after case of women – and yes, some men – being forced to sexually submit to someone else's will. Not once in any of these cases were the victims provoking the assault much less deserving or asking to be attacked.

The story of my attack resurfaced some years later when I participated in a college focus group discussing sexual assault. As I related my story to the members of the group, I came to realise that my feeling of shame of having been attacked had been replaced by that of anger and disappointment. Anger - that I had been stripped of my dignity and my innocence by a man who had insinuated himself into my unwitting confidence for that purpose and that alone. Disappointment -that I was not given the protection that I clearly needed from the one authority figure I chose to confide in. Anger - that I was inadvertently made to take responsibility for an attack on my person. And today, disappointment – that many years later, even after rape after rape after rape, our leaders still seem none the wiser on how to approach this discussion.

For it is an indisputable fact that sexual assault is more oppressive and dominative an act than it is an expression of sex and sexuality. Rape - the mother of all sexual assaults – and her lesser cousins – incest, molest and all other acts of sexual violation, penetrative or otherwise – are weapons wielded by people in a violent show of power, aggression and yes, violation.

Yes, the physical acts of sexual assault may be anecdotally informed by external factors – porn, alcohol, drugs… maybe even popular culture. But the root cause inspiring the need to express dominance through sexual assault runs much deeper and darker – take your pick: a fundamental disdain for private property, misogyny, a perverted sense of patriarchy. The sooner we get around to wrapping any future discourse on sexual assault beyond simplistic notions, the better.



1 Enforce dress code for women to curb sexual crimes, says PAS women's chief (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/enforce-dress-code-for-women-to-curb-sexual-crimes-says-pas-womens-chief/)

2Tahrir rape victim: 'I felt hands all over my body' (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4403474,00.html)

3Malaysia: Three Athletes Arrested for Rape in Sukma Games Village (http://www.ibtimes.co.in/articles/487448/20130708/rape-sukma-games-village-malaysia-athlete.htm)   


Pakatan: Be a Responsible Opposition; No ARAB SPRING Please

Posted: 11 Jul 2013 09:22 AM PDT


A person who takes part, loses then complains is commonly referred to as a sore loser.


GE 2013 is over. The new government is in place and things should have returned to normalcy.

But Pakatan and its cohorts refuse to allow this by refusing to accept the results and are bent on street protests, and disrupting the peace and stability in the country.


The rules to decide the winner of the elections in Malaysia has been established and accepted by all since independence. Due to our history, we follow the Westminister model as do most commonwealth countries. The winner is the party that gains the most seats.

DAP and Pas have taken part in so many Malaysian Elections, in the past they accepted the decision that the party with the most seats is the winner. There was no mention of winning the popular vote. Even in 2008, there was no talk of  the popular vote. The party that won over the most seats was declared the winner.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when he was a member of Barisan Nasional was happy to accept the results and there was no attempt to question how elections should be decided in Malaysia.

When he was Deputy Prime Minister he was no doubt waiting rather impatiently for THE election that would see him appointed Prime Minister of Malaysia. His burning desire to be Prime Minister was too obvious and many say it was one reason why he was sacked from the government.

The current situation created by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is akin to two players competing in a competition. Can the player who lost say he will not accept the results, claiming the spectators clapped the loudest for him? A wise player would study the rules of the game before playing. If he does not agree to the rules, he would discuss it and try to change the rules before the competition. If he cannot get the rules changed, he would not take part in the competition.

A person who takes part, loses then complains is commonly referred to as a sore loser. One would be more indulgent if the loser was a child and try to teach him the importance of sportsmanship and accepting defeat gracefully.

But when it is a petulant 65 year old man, what can we say but that 'most Malaysians are fed up with your antics and rallies. Just grow up and play your role as Leader of Opposition responsibly, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim'

Pakatan please note: most Malaysians, including many of the 51% whom you claim voted for you cherish peace and do not want to see street battles, bombs and blood shed.



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