I’m sure you’ve all seen the Instagram post that’s been circulating around recently? About a 23-year-old girl getting attacked in the middle of the night by two men on a motorcycle while she and her friend were walking towards Publika.
At first, the two men were said to have tried to catch the two girls’ attention by catcalling them and following them around and when she started recording their heinous behaviour was when things took a turn for the worst.
One of the two assailants, unprovoked, went at her with a large stick and hit her with it (her friend managed to escape, thankfully), injuring her and even bit her. Bit her? My goodness, was she sure that wasn’t an animal? What kind of sane person would treat a woman like that?
Disgust doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling I had while reading her post. People in her comment section were of huge help, tagging Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and asking them to take action. The girl has already made a police report against the two men and has also taken their license plate number for evidence.
As of last Saturday, 23 April 2022, both of the Kapcai riders have been arrested. Thank God! What makes matters worse was that they were found to have a total of seven previous criminal records before. Seven. And y’all still can’t see the error of your ways? People like this should be locked up in prison for longer and given punishments that would scare them off of their criminal lifestyles forever.
It’s concerning that things like these are happening even during the holy month. Are you really going to go all “the devil made me do it” even when you know, during Ramadhan, syaitan is locked up?
Being On High Alert Is Just Part Of Being A Woman
A huge majority of people were in support of her, sending her well wishes and expressing their unhappiness and disgust on her behalf. There are some people in her DMs and comments that are really gross though. How can you see videos and pictures of evidence of abuse and harassment and still make fun of it? What in your head isn’t clicking?
There are also some people who left comments joking about the matter, saying that “oh maybe he wanted to roleplay with you” and there are also comments implying that she was a sex worker that made one of her customers angry, hence they retaliated that way.
First of all, there are so many things wrong with that assumption. Even if she was a sex worker, which she isn’t, why would you think it’s okay and justified that people send their men to her to beat her up? And these guys were said to have attempted to “flirt” with her and didn’t get the response they desired so instead of asking like a normal person and accepting rejection, the guy had to be an animal about it?
How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man? How many times do women have to be scared for their lives before you stop taking it as a joke? In what way is any of this funny?
I’ve also seen comments that say “Haihh, Malaysian men macam ni la.” and similar things like that. True, to an extent, but also this issue isn’t just a Malaysian issue, for those of you who are commenting about it, it’s a worldwide issue where women would always hesitate to leave their house in fear of being hunted down like livestock.
Globally, an estimated 736 million women — almost one in three — have been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their life (30% of women aged 15 and older).
Girls would walk to the LRT station and upon seeing groups of boys hanging out by the entrance, immediately turn back around and head home. It’s not dramatic, they’re simply being cautious. Like the girl on the post — do you think she went outside thinking she was going to have to fend for her life that day? I think not.
But the truth of the matter is, it’s just something that a woman would have to endure until the laws of their country are strong and strict enough for them to not feel scared and threatened every time they go out.
It’s a good thing the girl fought back. But it’s sad that she had to. Memang la bulan Ramadhan setan semua locked up kan? But what about those syaitans that are already embedded inside someone’s body? What if the syaitan is the person themselves? Who said we’re truly protected?
Sometimes You Have To Fight
Did you know that over 50% of women in Malaysia have experienced verbal sexual harassment when walking on the streets? So much so that girls have started to give each other safety advice in terms of codewords to get them out of situations that make them uncomfortable or might endanger them.
A study in 2021 by Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) showed that 43% of Malaysians believed that a woman can make a man so angry that he hits her when he does not mean to. Other findings showed that while 83.4% of respondents believed that rape happens when a man cannot control his desires, 51.3% felt such sexual crimes happen due to the way a woman dresses. Those are high numbers, man. And such absurd statements as well.
It’s been happening for a while. It may seem like a lot and like we’re overreacting to some people (mostly men) but stuff like this frequently happens to girls all over the world, all the time.
So what’s the harm in being extra prepared? So, here are some tips you can follow when you find yourself alone and scared and being approached by a stranger.
Be On Alert. Always.
When you’re walking alone or with a friend (who’s also a girl), it’s good to pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure you have every possible exit point within your reach and if there are any suspicious activities that your gut is telling you about, high tail out of there, girl.
It’s also advisable to not walk in an area where there are little to no lights, these are one of the times when brighter is better. Remember: trust your instincts. Always.
Carry Pepper Spray
You may not always need it with you but it’s important to keep some sort of self-defense item with you at all times. You might think “oh I’m just going to the corner store, I’ll be fine.” but no. Please, girl.
Anything can happen anywhere, it’s a lot safer for you to always be prepared. If you’re thinking of getting one, there’s one on Shopee that’s affordable and works very well. Pepper spray is the most convenient, in my opinion. It blinds your attacker long enough for you to make a run for it.
Download Apps or Sounds That Can Help You
When you feel like you’re in danger and there isn’t anyone close by that can help you, there are apps created to either distract or scare your assailant long enough for help to come or apps that can help you avoid places that are prone to abuse.
The Safe City mobile app enables anyone who experiences or witnesses an incident of sexual harassment to report it anonymously and receive guidance on what to do and where to get help. There are also a lot of those SOS apps that you can set up to make sure that if you press on the app on your phone (even discreetly), help is on its way.
It’s exhausting at times but hey, that’s life as a girl. Being a girl means immediately locking the car door when you get in, checking left and right not only when we cross the roads but also everywhere we go, clutching our purses and curl into ourselves when we see men walking by, can’t say no in fear of being injured or killed, but woe is the life of a girl, right? As if we don’t already have enough to deal with.
We’ve come a long way to help prevent any violence against women but with things like this still happening, it helps to know what you can do and what steps you might need to take when you’re faced with this situation yourselves. It’s not ideal and I pray that you would never have to experience it, but it is good information to keep. Just in case.
If you’re ever in a situation whereby you’re not sure if what you faced was assault or otherwise and want more information on what assault entails and what to do afterwards, you can drop by All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)’s website.
Mother, I’m Tired Of Craving Violence
My mother had always told me to never trust men. I thought she meant it in a joking way until I was 13 years old, waiting in line at the 7-11 and a nice man had told me I could go in front of him since I didn’t have too much stuff to check out.
But afterward waited for me in front of the store to ask me what I can do for him since he had already done me a favour. Thankfully, my mum was there too and after seeing her walking towards me, he scurried off.
I was a kid. Literally just turned into a teenager. And years later, I’m still on alert and cautious whenever a man approaches me. It’s sad, really, that we’ve come this far, and yet, we’re still always afraid.
Only the thought of “it’s okay, the world’s progressing, things will get better” keeps me going. Sometimes, it’s okay to be optimistic. While we think that, we also have to have the mindset of taking responsibility for our own safety.
In the face of violence or being made fun of for surviving a traumatic event, we should always be prepared to save ourselves first. Who knows, calling for awareness might make a huge change in the future, maybe even for the better.