[UPDATE APRIL 29] Malaysia’s Ministry of Education said on Wednesday (April 28) that it is in the midst of conducting an in-depth investigation into the incident.
“This has become a police case, but we are also investigating if it really happened and if there is a case, strict and appropriate action will be taken,” said Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin at a special press conference.
In a position of power and authority, a grown man decided it was appropriate to tell numerous rape jokes to a room full of children.
This was the scene at a secondary school in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia, where a teacher was conducting his physical education lesson.
Ain Husniza, 17, from said class, took to Twitter and TikTok to voice her concerns on the alleged remarks made last Saturday (April 24) – and has since received rape threats from a fellow student. That TikTok video has gone viral with over a million views, roughly 6,000 shares and 132,000 likes.
The teacher in question reportedly mentioned how there are a host of laws protecting minors from sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Hence, his alleged advice to students was to not rape children under 18 and instead, rape those above 18.
In her TikTok video, Ain goes on to explain that the immediate reactions between the boys and girls were night and day.
“The girls were quiet but the boys, oh they were laughing like it was so funny to joke about raping someone," Ain said.
Ain has been making her voice heard on Twitter too, with the trending hashtag #MakeSchoolsASaferPlace.
Many Malaysians online are supporting this, and are also applauding Ain for her bravery in standing up against sexual harassment in schools. This includes former Malaysian education minister Maszlee Malik who said in a tweet: "Rape is not a laughing matter, and teachers should advocate safety, not otherwise."
Though Ain does have her supporters, there has been pushback from some who are unhappy with her actions.
A teacher from her school has allegedly circulated rumours to other educators in the Kuala Selangor region that Ain is autistic, in the hopes of delegitimising her cause.
The criticism Ain received has reached a point where it is no longer safe for her to be in school, due to the rape threats she received from a fellow schoolmate.
In the Twitter thread above, Ain included an audio recording which said: “I swear this kid is stupid. If I ever get my hands on her, I’d scrape her. If not, I will rape her and send her to Thailand.”
Ain's father Saiful Nizam has since posted on his personal Facebook account with regard to the police reports that have been lodged — one regarding the teacher's lewd rape jokes, the other regarding the rape threats to his daughter.
He said: “Yesterday, a police report was made and it seems like another one needs to be made after my daughter received rape threats from schoolmates because they weren’t happy with what is happening and sees her actions as her tainting the good name of the school.
"I fully support what my daughter is doing so that the general public is more aware of such issues which are often labeled as ordinary or normal."
Despite the backlash, Ain has stated that she will remain in this fight to speak out against sexual harassment – demanding changes to be made in order for schools to become a safer place.
It isn't the first time schools in Malaysia have been accused of mishandling issues surrounding sexual harassment.
Earlier this month, a story broke out that Malaysian women were starting to come out on their experience with ‘period spot checks’ in schools.