Rina Harun: Do not trivialise rape jokes at school, stern action must be taken

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The act of a teacher accused of making jokes about rape during class cannot be dismissed as trivial and stern action should be taken against the teacher if the allegations are proven, says Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun (pic).

The Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) Minister said the matter was being taken seriously and such actions were unprofessional.

Rina said as adults, we need to be aware there are limits to speech, especially when communicating so that children who are attending class do not feel emotionally disturbed by the morals and behaviour of their teachers.

"In any situation, such a thing should not be joked about as the act of rape is a criminal offence," she said in a statement Thursday (April 29).

Rina said sexual comments and jokes such as rape and body shaming should be stopped, not to mention giving inappropriate examples in terms of providing awareness about sexual harassment to students at school and to society in general.

"Actions like these, including victim blaming, are highly inappropriate as it sends an unhealthy message to society and it is feared that it will contribute to criminal behaviour," she said.

The minister said children should be in a learning environment that is conducive, free and safe, and also protected from any threats including sexual harassment and exploitation.

"In this case, appropriate action should be taken in accordance with the guidelines and rules in force for each case that is valid.

"Indeed, the government will not compromise on any offence involving sexual harassment and violation of the rights and welfare of children. Strict action must be taken against offenders involved in any misconduct involving children," she said.

Rina said the KPWKM was also comprehensively reviewing the national children’s policy by emphasising that children must be free from all negative things through advocacy, prevention and support services.

"The anti-sexual harassment law is also being enacted and is undergoing the final scrutiny of the government to ensure better enforcement of the act and regulations can be implemented," she also said.

Rina added that the KPWKM would continue to be committed to raising awareness through cooperation with various parties in efforts to protect children's rights and address the issue of sexual harassment. - Bernama

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