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KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 ― After 17-year-old Ain Husniza slammed a male teacher for making “rape jokes” in class last month, her father said many female teachers have reached out to him with stories of sexual harassment in schools.
Saiful Nizam Abdul Wahab, 42, said they messaged him privately and revealed the names of the male teachers who have harassed them.
The freelance IT professional said the stories left him dumbfounded. “One told me that it's common among teachers.
“So what I am doing is not just for my daughter Ain but for the well-being of our female teachers too,” he said.
Ain made a video, that she posted on social media, in which she described how her teacher had been explaining sexual harassment in class before the conversation lapsed into inappropriate jokes.
Ain has since made two police reports including one against several of her male schoolmates who sent her rape threats, after she exposed the teacher.
However, Saiful told Malay Mail that the case will be recorded as No Further Action (NFA) by the police after the boys and their families sought forgiveness from Ain’s family.
During the interview, Saiful said that several of those who left lewd comments on social media after Ain's initial interview with news portal Malaysiakini had also contacted him to apologise.
Saiful had also shared some of these lewd comments on his Facebook, criticising those who made such jokes about his daughter's body.
“Once I started that posting, I received numerous responses from both sides. Meaning that the first side were the audience who viewed the matter as something wrong and they helped by giving me information about those who left such comments.
“There were those who messaged me directly and the result was that some of these people who were exposed contacted me via Facebook and Whatsapp and apologised for what they said, adding that their wives were going amok at home!
“Some of them told me that their children were very angry after finding out and made a ruckus at home about their actions.
“When they apologised to me, they cried a lot and sincerely asked for forgiveness. Some of their wives also received criticisms from social media users.
“This gives a very satisfying result to me... as the aim is to educate and the education happened. They asked that I delete the posting about them, which I did,” Saiful explained.
However, Saiful added that he informed the men that he would not interfere in any disciplinary action taken on them as others had already reported them to the Ministry of Education (MOE), and it is something they have to be responsible for.
“Most were government teachers and a senior teacher and others,” he said when asked about their identities.
“As a father this is saddening, and I am angry, but I am happy that this opened the eyes of many including me as to how this issue has been repeating and there seems to be no solution in sight.
“The last straw for me was when her schoolmates threatened to rape her. I knew the problem is very deep rooted, and worst when teachers joined in. That's when I had enough.
“Children need to go to school feeling safe and teachers must teach well within the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) and ethics, and not make lewd comments.
“To those from my generation, we must stop this vicious cycle so our children will have the opportunity to study safely. We must be willing to change and accept our mistakes and wrongdoings,” he added.
“I don't want Ain's story to be just another statistic among the many. Just another story to reflect on, sigh and move on without any real action,” he said.
Saiful is also hoping to see the Sexual Harassment Bill becoming law, to “clean up” the related issues in the community.
“Definitely. The law is important and I believe it will bring many changes and pave the way for many to be educated on the problem.
“We need to clean up thoroughly, and with what is being done now, we hope that many more parents and teenagers will have a better future,” he added.