PETALING JAYA: After being questioned why she chose now to bring up her past experience with sexual harassment, national diving star Datuk Pandelela Rinong said she wanted to offer support to other victims out there.
The Olympic medallist, who recently revealed that she got bullied by a former coach after she confronted him for his lewd jokes, said she also hoped to encourage future victims to be brave and speak up.
"I shared my ‘not so nice’ experience to give awareness to the public, and support for victims out there, who are always in dilemma, whether to speak up or stay silent.
"Most importantly, enablers and their backups shouldn’t be glamorised. Others may forget, but not the victim.
"Still totally in support of #rapejokeisnotfunny, hoping to encourage the future ones to be brave when I wasn’t," she wrote on Twitter on Monday (Oct 25) night.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu had earlier questioned why Pandelela only brought the issue via social media to light now as the incidents happened “long ago”.
“I am trying to understand why after a long time, Lela wants to put this out in the social media,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today on Monday (Oct 25).
Faizal had also said that he has already been in touch with several people regarding the incidents, adding that he will be sitting down with the then youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin to discuss the incidents further.
He also urged national athletes to speak up on any forms of sexual harassment by alerting them to their parents or the authorities.
Malaysians also took to Twitter to support Pandelela where @esoliano said "You shared when you were ready. There's no time frame. Stay brave and know that you deserve to be heard. Always."
Similarly, @MsAmalinaMZain, tweeted in support of Pandalela, saying that "you did the right thing. And thank you for being brave to speak up the truth on behalf of victims" and @EtherealSkylar also replied to Pandelela's tweet with support, saying "YESS Agree!