Threats of violence against women must not be tolerated
12 December 2015
Lawyers for Liberty is appalled by news of an individual Sharul Nizam Ab Rahim who made a Facebook posting threatening to break into the home and sexually assault G25 spokesperson Noor Farida Ariffin over her views on privacy and Syariah law.
Any threats of violence against women, even made in cyberspace or in jest, must not be tolerated in any modern and civilised society. Turning a blind eye to such threatening or bullying behaviour encourages and normalises hostility and violence towards women.
The authorities must act immediately against Sharul Nizam for making such a threat against Noor Farida which can be investigated under the Penal Code – sections 506 for criminal intimidation and 509 for word or gesture intended to insult the modesty of a person. In addition, section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which prohibits the improper use of network facilities to abuse, harass or threaten any person can be correctly applied in such a case.
The fact that Sharul Nizam views such threatening or bullying behaviour as his ‘human right’ and defended by others is especially disturbing in light of the recent report by the Penang Women Centre For Change which revealed that an annual average of 3,000 rape cases were reported in Malaysia.
It is unacceptable and baffling why the authorities are not taking such threatening and bullying behaviour against women with the seriousness it deserves when they are so quick to act against social media comments when they are critical or deemed offensive against the government or its interests.
We condemn all such threatening and bullying behaviour against women, including those made with a view to suppress women’s right to speak up. Any disagreement on any issues even controversial ones, should be debated and discussed, not threatened or bullied into silence.
Lawyers for Liberty
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