The All Women's Action Society (AWAM) has condemned a suggestion made by a PKR senator for there to be a law to protect men from being seduced into committing sexual crimes such as rape. -- NSTP Archive

KUALA LUMPUR: The All Women's Action Society (AWAM) has condemned a suggestion made by a PKR senator for there to be a law to protect men from being seduced into committing sexual crimes such as rape.

AWAM said it was unacceptable for the senator to place the blame of rape, molestation, incest, porn and otherwise on the victim.

"After all, it is the perpetrator who must take responsibility for their own actions. The idea that victims are unable to access justice or demand some form or redress after undergoing such a dehumanizing experience simply adds into the creation of a culture of fear and violence.

"Underlying all of this is the assumption that gender-based violence stems from desire or lust. However, such violence is never about desire or lust. It is about power and objectification. There are many accounts where sexual harassment has taken place between two heterosexual people of the same sex - and this just goes to show that it is not about sex, it is about power, control and saying that ‘I can do this to you’," AWAM said.

In debating the Syarie Legal Profession (Federal Territories) Bill 2019 in Dewan Negara today, before wrapping up his speech, senator Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid directed a suggestion to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

He proposed for a new law to be enacted to "protect men" from a woman's way of speaking and dressing, which can cause men to be seduced, which will then lead them into committing acts such as incest, rape, inappropriate touching and pornography, among others.

Stating that "this was important", Mohamad Imran explained that men too needed to be protected because such ways of dressing would lead to men being seduced and they could then break the country's laws and subsequently be charged for these crimes.

"I hope that the minister can consider this so it (new law) can be introduced, so that men, God-willing, are safe, and this country will be peaceful," he had said.

AWAM said the statement by the senator was made in response to the Sexual Harassment Bill proposed by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).

"Sexual harassment is a social issue that disproportionately affects women, meaning that while men and women are both victims of sexual harassment, a bulk of victims are actually women.

"A sexual harassment act is meant to address the current gaps in the law - especially when there is so much about sexual harassment that is misunderstood. Only today, the Center for Governance and Political Studies had released a report showing that out of 200 men who were interviewed in Klang Valley, only 34.6% had specifically identified verbal consent as the bar for consent - and that really is the line that divides sexual harassment from friendly or acceptable norms of behaviour," AWAM said.

It added that moral policing has not worked, pointing out that this was expected because how one dresses was not the reason why children get molested or why people rape.

"We need a Sexual Harassment Act - not because women need special privileges - but because everyone (this law will be applied to all people, not just women) deserves to live in dignity, and without fear for their personal safety."