Men should speak up against sexual harassment

JOHOR BARU: Men who are victims of sexual harassment and assault should be brave and come forward to report the matter to authorities.

Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, in emphasising this issue, said many men were victims of sexual harassment but often feel ashamed or fearful of reporting it.

She said while many male victims had sought counseling at the Yayasan Kebajikan Negara's local social support centres (PSSS), they often refrain from reporting it to the authorities.

"In reality, more female victims report cases of sexual harassment compared to men.

"However, evidence shows that there are indeed many men who fall victim, and this is especially evident when we observe men seeking counseling at the PSSS.

"Sexual harassment against men is nearly as prevalent as against women. We want to encourage them to come forward, especially students or children."

She said this after officiating the state-level Jerayawara Kasih KPWKM Anti-Sexual Harassment Programme here, today.

Also present was state Women, Family and Community Development chairperson, Khairin-Nisa Ismail @ Md On.

Nancy also said she hoped that the establishment of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Tribunal would start operating before year end.

"Our focus is more on advocacy, but we are still awaiting the Attorney-General Chambers for the legal aspects of the tribunal.

"We are already prepared as everything has been approved, and we hope to start the tribunal services before the year ends," she added.

She said before the tribunal is operational, sexual harassment victims could still make reports using existing laws.

"Through the tribunal, we can take civil action, but laws related to criminal acts can still be applied. Victims can claim compensation through the tribunal."

Based on police statistics, reported cases of sexual harassment had increased from 378 in 2020 to 506 cases in 2021.

The police recorded a drop in reports in 2022, with 477 cases involving victims of both men and women.

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