School Threatens to Expel Malaysian Teen Who Reported Rape Joke

Hadi Azmi and Nisha David
Kuala Lumpur
2021-05-11
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School Threatens to Expel Malaysian Teen Who Reported Rape Joke Seventeen-year-old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam talks to her father about comments left on her TikTok video, in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia, May 8, 2021.
[Hadi Azmi/BenarNews]

A17-year-old Malaysian girl who says she has been threatened for reporting a teacher’s joke about rape has now been warned by the school that she will be expelled if her parents don’t give a reasonable explanation for her absence.

Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam said her parents received a warning letter from the school – seen by BenarNews – on the same day that her father met the principal and told her about his concerns for his daughter’s safety.

 “I haven't been expelled yet but threatened with expulsion with the first warning letter,” she said on Twitter.

“I skipped school because I do not feel safe anymore,” Ain told BenarNews.

 Ain received support from many students, parents, and rights groups after she complained on TikTok on April 23-24 that her teacher had joked about rape. Her video sparked a nationwide debate on sex education and institutional misogyny.

But she said she had also received many threats for filing a police report about the teacher. One student threatened to rape her and her schoolmates began to ostracize her, she said.

Ain’s father, Saiful Nizam, said he had a meeting with the school principal, Sarimah Mohammed Nor, on April 28.

“Nothing was mentioned during the meeting about her missing school, so it was surprising that we received the warning letter later on the same day,” Saiful told BenarNews.

BenarNews called the school several times to speak to the principal, but no one answered the phone.

Police investigation complete

Meanwhile, Ain said no official from the Ministry of Education had contacted her despite the education minister on April 28 publicly saying “we are … conducting a thorough investigation.”

BenarNews repeatedly contacted the Ministry of Education and Education Minister Radzi Jidin via phone calls, text messages and emails but got no response.

Police however told BenarNews that they have completed an investigation into Ain’s complaints about the teacher and about the student who threatened rape, and the investigation paper on both complaints has been submitted to the Attorney General Chamber for further action.

Police declined to say when they made the submission.

Ain said she did not expect any of this when she made that TikTok video.

“I’m just a normal teenager, I go on social media and tell people about this and that, like, today this teacher said this, this teacher said that,” she told BenarNews.

“But this time it blew up because it was so normalized, but nobody spoke up about it and people were angry.”

In the TikTok video Ain quoted her teacher as saying: “If you want to rape someone, do not rape those below 18 years old, rape those above 18 years old.”

The teacher, a man, made the comment as a class on health education was discussing laws protecting minors from sexual harassment, Ain said.

The whole episode, Ain said, has disrupted her education as she is now considering changing schools because of the threats and because her classmates are shunning her. But that isn’t going to deter her, she said.

Ain wants to be an artist, but also considers herself an activist. She said she would continue to champion the fight to make schools in Malaysia safe.

“I will continue to stand up for this cause, because education is so important,” Ain said.

“If we can fix the education system, things like racism, sexism, rape and all the crime that is happening can be fixed.”

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