Groups and activists slam actor’s comments

No laughing matter: Rape is a crime, and joking about it is unacceptable, says Aleza.

KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s groups and activists have spoken out against actor Fauzi Nawawi’s comments during a talk show where he made light of a rape scene in a film he acted.

Women’s Aid Organisation deputy executive director and advocacy director Yu Ren Chung said rape is not something to joke or fantasise about.

“It is a heinous act and a crime. This conversation got the attention of many as it was on national TV,” he said.

“But unfortunately, this behaviour is so common – whether it is on national TV, social media, WhatsApp groups, the workplace, at home, at school or anywhere else.

“Rape jokes and sexist behaviour are just not acceptable,” he added.

Yu said men need to have an honest look at themselves and make sure they are doing their part.

“First and foremost, don’t make rape jokes or comments, or be sexist. But that’s not enough. We need to fight sexism by condemning sexist behaviour and by supporting women.

“It could be as simple as pushing back against a sexist comment in your work WhatsApp group. It could include listening to a colleague or friend who has been harassed and offering your help,” he added.

During the talk show Rumah No 107 hosted by Shuk Sahar and Khir Rahman, the actor described the rape scene graphically and even boasted about enjoying it and said that he was “turned on” by it.

The scene in the 2007 film Anak Halal was subsequently deleted from the movie.

Fauzi later apologised.

Sisters In Islam spokesperson Aleza Othman said: “Making light of rape has been normalised in our society to the point where people are even joking or commenting about it without being conscious about it and without remorse in public spaces such as on television, in schools or at workplaces.

“Such a rape culture shouldn’t be tolerated. It must not be broadcasted on television or even allowed behind the scenes.”

She said such jokes were degrading and dangerous to women as they can encourage physical and sexual violence.

“What the actor did was disgusting and vile as he commented and joked about the rape scene excitedly on television without any sensitivity or thought of his fellow actor’s reputation and also how she would feel,” she said.

“This is why we need to expedite the Sexual Harassment Act in Malaysia to protect women.

“The proposed Media Council should also set a standard on how such a rape culture will not and should not be tolerated,” she added.

Aleza said the habit of making light of rape with inappropriate comments or jokes should be nipped in the bud.

“If you hear someone commenting or joking about rape, you need to be vocal and speak out against it.

“This will make people more careful – and this applies to both the younger as well as the older generation.

“All need to be educated or re-educated and made aware that rape is offensive, it is a crime, and joking about it is unacceptable and mustn’t be tolerated,” she said.Aleza also applauds the example and courage of Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, the student who exposed and spoke out against a male PE teacher in her school for “joking” about rape.

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