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KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 26 — Hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace has set Twitter abuzz and appeared among the top 10 trending topics in the country — with even celebrities sharing their personal stories of sexual harassments.
This comes after teenager Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam on Saturday made a simple video on TikTok and posted it on Twitter in which she voiced concerns about her teacher’s rape jokes.
Her original post on Twitter was accompanied by the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace, in which she called out public figures such as former education minister Maszlee Malik, cartoonist Zunar and celebrity actress and singer Adibah Noor, to support the cause.
Now, the hashtag has not only attracted the public sharing their personal stories of similar incidents in schools but has also moved independent artists to express their support through drawings.
Among others, cartoonist Zunar whose real name is Zulkiflee SM Anwarul Haque came up with a comic strip while another artist based in Melbourne, Australia, Ann Li or Twitter handle @kawliflower kickstarted a series of illustrations inspired by stories in relation to Ain’s situation.
Several other illustration artists have also come up with their own interpretation of the incident and their work was widely shared on Twitter in hopes of making school a safer place.
Some of the artists include Twitter handles like @heliosdraws, @AZHAR, @erakunn, @DatSketcher and @ComicsByVieN.
Popular actors and artists also joined Ain’s cause by retweeting updates on their Twitter account. These include Adibah Noor who said: “This should not be happening to our children.”
Local comedian Harith Iskander said: “I stand with bravery” and “This makes me angry”,
Actor Bront Palarae said: “I support this because we must” while Tony Eusoff said: “Orang yang melawak pasal hal rogol ni patut digugurkan ketika dalam kandungan lagi” (Those who joke about rape should be miscarried even while they are in the womb).
Actress Sharifah Amani said: “The young will set us free. Thank you for your bravery Ain. Semoga dipermudahkan segalanya”, while singer Daiyan Trisha said: “We are behind you Ain, and we thank you for your bravery to speak your truth. Fight the good fight — be loud and fearless! I’m so proud of you”.
Public figures and non-governmental organisations who offered supportive messages to Ain include chief executive officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Surina Shukri who said: “Ain, you are not alone and your courage to stand up and speak out inspired others to do the same. Am behind you all the way.”
Parti Pejuang Tanah Air president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said: “Harapkan pegar, pegar makan padi. Students & teachers alike need to be taught to be gendersensitive & avoid any hint of sexual abuse. Even innuendos are a no no”,
While other top posts include @blowupdumpling who said: “To have a brave daughter, a brave girl like her, we first as an adult or a parent must be supportive and be able to educate a child. Look at how supportive her parents are. March on my girl, we’re right behind you.”
Politicians including DAP’s Kasthuri Patto and former education minister Maszlee Malik have also urged the Education Ministry to step up investigations into the matter.
The incident which occurred to Ain comes amid outrage after the period spotcheck incident which was also brought to social media sparked national attention.
Ain has since made two police reports, the latest over her alleged treatment by her peers.
Allegations have surfaced that the 17-year-old student was teased about the video that she had posted on social media, in which she described how her teacher had been explaining sexual harassment in class before the conversation lapsed into inappropriate jokes.
It’s sickening how kids have to go through traumatic experiences, especially in a place where they’re supposed to learn from people who should know better.
— エラー ? dying (@erakunn) April 25, 2021
— Shepherd ?️ ⚧️ ?#MakeSchoolASaferPlace (@DatSketcher_) April 26, 2021
— ann ? Animated Commissions open! (@kawliflower) April 25, 2021
// sexual assault , rape , victim blaming (discussion only)
The time for “bincang elok-elok” is over. Students should be allowed to be loud and disruptive when their own safety and privacy is concerned #MakeSchoolASaferPlace #heliosdoodles pic.twitter.com/lafhlf5IZY
— elio (demanding for schools to be safer) (@heliosdraws) April 26, 2021
— AZHAR ☀️ (@tacotiiger) April 25, 2021