KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri stresses that society should not normalise any behaviour with elements of sexual harassment.
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said no aspect of sexual harassment should be condoned, be it directly or even as a joke.
"Some perpetrators may view their actions as harmless jokes or misunderstandings. The normalisation of such behaviour should not be allowed.
"The issue of sexual harassment is not something new. However, it is critical and necessary for us to publicise and continue the conversation on this issue," she said during the opening speech of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry's @ Anti-Sexual Harassment Advocacy roadshow, here Monday (Sept 25).
According to the police statistics, there was a slight decrease in the number of sexual harassment cases in 2022 with 477 cases, compared to 506 cases in 2021, said Nancy.
Nancy said 90% of sexual harassment cases were perpetrated against women, with 416 cases in 2022 and 446 cases in 2021.
According to her, sexual harassment cases involving children are also worrying, with 35 cases nationwide, including four in Sabah, recorded last year.
"Sabah has the third highest number of sexual harassment cases in Malaysia, after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. This includes cases involving children as well," she said.
Nancy said the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act 2022, which has been enforced in stages from March 28, is expected to help victims come forward to report such offences.
She said the roadshow is aimed at raising awareness and educating the community about sexual harassment so that victims know they are not alone in facing the issue.
"We want our society to become more conscious about anti-sexual harassment matters, to use the existing Act and for victims to be brave in sharing any sexual harassment incidents with people they trust," she said.
Nancy also emphasised the need for non-governmental organisations to assist the ministry in raising society’s awareness of sexual harassment, both in urban and rural areas. - Bernama