Women and rape: Malaysian talk show host gets it wrong

Screen grab from the Bernama TV talk show
By Sanjay CS (#UnityPenang)LETTER TO EDITOR |

LET’S say there is a topic titled, “Rape! Is it a woman’s fault?”. Between a news channel and a movie, one would expect the former to be more insightful than the latter, right?

But imagine, if the reverse happens!

Bernama TV ‘s Darah Muda (Young Blood) is a talk show that caters to young viewers.

On the other hand, Pink is a 2016 Hindi movie, starring Amitabh Bachchan as a lawyer representing three women of “questionable characters” who were accused of crime against men with powerful connections.

In a prime time episode of Darah Muda screened on July 12 (and repeated the next day), the topic was “Serangan seksual! Salah wanita ke?” (Sexual assault! Is it women’s fault?”), hosted by a young duo, male and female, and with an invited guest- a preacher.

The talk went on fine with some sensible and valid points exchanged. However, towards the end of the programme, as the guest was summarising his points, he had to be cut short due to lack of time. Just then, the female host, while giving her final words to the viewers, said the following:

Jadi, kalau anda wanita, jangan jadi penyebab untuk orang ada attention dengan anda!” (So, if you are a woman, don’t become the reason for people to have attention on you!).


Compare that statement to Pink, where the title of the film has no relationship as being the favourite colour of girls but rather conveys a hard-hitting message that women should have the absolute FREEDOM, to speak up, walk freely at night or to do just about anything boys could do.

The host may have had good intentions, but her statement was painfully wrong.

If she implied that a good girl can only be measured or be safe by how she dresses – especially Muslim girls with head scarves like herself, then Noor Suzaily Mukhtar (or Suzi to her family), should still be alive today.

That’s because on October 7, 2000, the then 24-year old computer engineer was brutally raped in a bus, sodomised and killed by a maniac driver.

She was in a baju kurung, and that too with a tudung! So, why her dressing still could not shield her from the sexual assault?

When can we ever learn that decent clothes don’t prevent rapes?! And sexy clothes don’t cause rapes! When can the society be educated that even if a woman is standing stark naked in front of a man, he still doesn’t have any bloody right to rape her!

One reason out of many why a rape happens is when the perpetrator with the smallest of minds or the most ‘damaged’ mental faculty, has found an opportunity to strike.

In Suzi’s case, the rapist Hanafi Mat Hassan was such, where he could even flash a smile as the death sentence was read out.

Rape is always about the perpetrator’s crime, not the victim’s short dress or neckline!

So much so that, the question to ask is – what’s a woman – or even a child – has got to do in a rape? (with all respects to gender sensitive cases).

In the open letter, “Rape: Moral guardians need to change mindset” (Malaysiakini, May 26, 2008), Azrul Mohd Khalib enlightened an Islamic group that there is a disturbing trend that has been observed where a lot of Malay men find it a thrill to have sex with a girl wearing a tudung.

He further states, “Quite a few pornographic handphone videos originating from this country now involve girls wearing the tudung. Would you (referring to the Islamic group) suggest then that women should not wear the tudung ? The clothing a woman wears should not – and is not – the issue.”

In a letter referring to Pink when it was screened on TV, “Thanks, RTM, for a great movie” (The Star, Sept 13, 2019) , Chrismira A. reinforced – I hope men who think of women as “lesser beings” watched it and caught the important lesson from this great cinematic work, ie, when a woman says “No”, it means no!

It does not matter if she is your friend, a girlfriend, a sex worker or even your own wife. When she says no, you STOP!

Another point highlighted in the movie is how society is wrongly putting its effort into “saving” boys.

“We should save our boys, because if we save our boys, then our girls will be safe.” What this means is that it’s always the girls that need to cover up, lest the guys cannot handle themselves.

Bernama TV, you need to own up for the blunder made on the channel with regards to matters of women and rape. Otherwise, it will remain shameful that a Bollywood movie has given much better wisdom than a Malaysian national news agency.



(Asia Samachar, 23 June 2020)

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  1. The problem with Malaysian tv news channels are they omly cater to single race onlibious to the fact we are are multiracial, multireligious, multicultural nation.
    That is our on going tragedy.The ustad does not speak for other religions, maybe not even for some other muslims, since ustads are by profession conservative.