17-year-old exposing rape culture in Malaysian schools

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

When a 17-year-old Malaysian student went on TikTok to call out her physical education teacher for a “rape joke” he shared in front of the class in late April, it triggered a firestorm of debate but also a backlash against the teen in the Muslim-majority country.

In her video, Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, a student at a state secondary school in Puncak Alam near Kuala Lumpur, said the male teacher had made the comment as the topic of sexual harassment was being discussed.

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The class had been talking about laws that protect minors from sexual abuse and harassment when the teacher suddenly interjected: “If you want to rape someone, make sure they are above 18.”

“He really said that, and the girls were quiet but the boys were laughing like it was so funny to joke about raping someone,” she said.

The video has been viewed more than 1.8 million times since it was posted and Ain’s social media post has reignited debate over sexual harassment, misogyny and violence against women and girls in the Southeast Asian nation, which is home to the majority ethnic Malays who are Muslim, and sizeable ethnic Chinese and Indian communities as well as various Indigenous groups.—Agencies