In Malaysia, ever since the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 was enforced in 1982, banning polygamy for non- Muslims, polygamy has increasingly come to be associated with Islam. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, certain attempts were made to control the abuse of polygamy among the Muslims. However, these attempts have have not been very effective in practice, and it is most unfortunate that any vigorous measures against the abuse of polygamy are often condemned as being "un-Islamic", due to a general mistaken notion that polygamy is a sacred male right guaranteed by Islam.
Download our full version of Q&A booklet: Islam & Polygamy Here
Q&A Booklet: Are Muslim Men Allow to Beat Their Wives?
Q&A Booklet: Are Muslim Men Allow to Beat Their Wives?
Wife- battering is now increasingly recognised as a serious social problem in Malaysia affecting the well-being, physical security and health of women, children and families. More battered women are turning to friends, relatives, counsellors, women's organisations, shelters, lawyers and the Religous Department for help.
There are a number of views being expressed on what the Qu'ran says about a husband beating his wife. This booklet puts forward the perspective of the group, Sisters in Islam, based on its understanding of the Qu'ran. It is hoped that the booklet will be of value for Muslim women and men who are concerned about the issue, both those directly affected by wife- battering and those who are in a position to help.
Download our full version of Q&A booklet: Are Muslim Men Allow to Beat Their Wives? Here
fz.com - Women groups hold Najib to his promise (6 February 2013)
PETALING JAYA (Feb 5): The Joint Action Group (JAG) for Gender Equality is pushing for a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the status of 22 memorandums on reform and action that it has submitted to the government over the past decade.
At a press conference today, representatives of three of the nine women's groups that make up JAG pointed out that Najib had promised to give pro-women legislation due attention during his speech at the National Council of Women's Organisations golden jubilee celebrations on Jan 30. Najib had also assured that there would not be a repeat of the seven-year wait for a bill to be passed, as in the case of the Domestic Violence Act. But Sisters In Islam (SIS) acting executive director, Ratna Osman, said that their call for amendments to the Islamic Family Law (IFL) dates back to 1996. She reminded the government that members of the Syariah Community Meeting had already agreed to the amendments in 2006. "In February 2009, we were told that the amendments to the IFL statutes would soon be tabled in Parliament," Ratna said. "But then these amendment bills were withdrawn because the Conference of Rulers wanted time to consult their respective state religious councils. "We have not heard any updates on their status since then. It has remained hanging and we want the government to look into this," she said. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung, meanwhile, highlighted WAO's push for a wider scope under the Domestic Violence Act to cover intimate partnerships, to harmonise it with all relevant pieces of criminal justice legislation, and to standardise institutionalised support for survivors of domestic violence. All Women's Action Society (AWAM) senior programme officer Lee Wei San added that they wanted the rape law amended to include rape with an object and marital rape, as well as comprehensive laws on sexual harassment. When asked if JAG had ever had a meeting with Najib before, Ratna said no but added that they had had meetings with his predecessor, Tun Abdullah Badawi and former minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil. "But we've never had one with Najib, not even in his capacity as the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development," she said. Ratna also pointed out that the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women would take place on March 4 and Malaysia was among the elected nations to be involved in this event. "This year's theme is Prevention of Violence Against Women and if the government makes progress on our recommended amendments, then Najib will have something good to report to the commission," she said. "In 2008, JAG held our 'Kotakan Kata!' campaign where we called for elected government representatives to fulfill election promises to end gender-based discrimination and uphold women's rights. Today we are saying 'Sekali Lagi, Kotakan Kata!' as we stand at the cusp of a general election." JAG said that it would give the new ruling government three months after coming into power to get moving on the amendments and memorandums.
The Star - Make marital rape a crime (6 February 2013)
PETALING JAYA: Husbands forcing themselves on wives and women forced to insert objects into their private parts – these should be included in the definition of rape in the law.
This is one of the reforms that the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) is hoping will materialise, following the Prime Minister’s pledge that pro-women laws will be implemented swiftly.
The group, which consists of nine bodies including Sisters In Islam (SIS) and Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), said the country’s laws should be amended to expand the definition of rape in line with current needs.
SIS programme manager Suri Kempe quoted a recent case of a father in Kangar who forced his 13-year-old daughter to insert a carrot into her vagina but was only investigated for molest.
“This is why we need to make changes to our laws – to suit contemporary notions of justice,” she said here yesterday.
Molest carries a maximum jail term of 10 years, a fine or whipping under the Penal Code while those guilty of rape can be punished up to 20 years’ jail and is liable to whipping.
All Women’s Action Society senior programme officer Lee Wei San said women had a right to say no to sex at any time.
“However, marital rape has yet to be recognised as a crime,” she said.
The group plans to write to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to arrange a meeting to discuss long-standing women issues.
SIS board of directors member Zainah Anwar said the group would send him all 23 memorandums issued by JAG in the past decade.
One of the issues to be highlighted to Najib, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, will be the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) (Amendment) Act 2006.
The law, among others, allows the right of a Muslim husband to claim harta sepencarian (joint assets) from his existing wife or wives upon his polygamous marriage.
“It was agreed that the law be reviewed and a draft of the amended law was prepared in 2006. However, it has yet to be tabled as the Conference of Rulers wanted time to consult their respective state religious councils,” she said.
On Jan 29, Najib had said pro-women legislation would be given due attention and there would not be a repeat of a seven-year wait for a Bill to be passed, as what happened with the Domestic Violence Act.
GABUNGAN KUMPULAN WANITA BERTINDAK BAGI KESAMARATAAN GENDER (JAG) : SEKALI LAGI, KOTAKAN KATA! (5 Febuari 2013)
GABUNGAN KUMPULAN WANITA BERTINDAK BAGI KESAMARATAAN GENDER (JAG) KENYATAAN AKHBAR 5 Febuari 2013
SEKALI LAGI, KOTAKAN KATA!
JAG mengalu-alukan kenyataan Perdana Menteri yang menjamin “kerajaan bersedia melakukan perubahan terhadap undang-undang, peraturan, amalan dan pemikiran yang menghalang wanita untuk lebih maju”. Kami mengharapkan jaminan ini menjadi realiti dan menyeru undang-undang pro-wanita diluluskan dengan segera, oleh mana-mana pihak yang kelak membentuk kerajaan.
Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, yang juga Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat, menjamin bahawa sesuatu yang baik tidak akan memakan masa tujuh tahun untuk dicapai. Kami berharap beliau telah mengambil kira bahawa pindaan positif kepada Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga hanya diluluskan pada tahun 2011, 17 tahun selepas akta asal diluluskan pada tahun 1994.
Perubahan undang-undang dan dasar-dasar untuk memastikan keadilan serta menghentikan diskriminasi tidak sepatutnya mengambil masa tujuh tahun atau lebih untuk diluluskan dan dilaksanakan. Keadilan yang ditangguhkan ialah keadilan yang dinafikan.
Namun, kami dapati penangguhan seperti ini adalah suatu kebiasaan. Dalam masa sedekad lebih, JAG telah menyampaikan 22 memorandum kepada pihak kerajaan yang mengutarakan isu-isu wanita yang memerlukan tindakan segera. Kebanyakan memorandum ini tidak diberikan perhatian oleh pihak kerajaan. Usaha untuk meluluskan undang-undang dan dasar-dasar pro-wanita boleh bermula dengan mengkaji semula memorandum-memorandum ini.
Khususnya, sebarang perubahan harus memberi tumpuan kepada perkara-perkara berikut: • Pastikan semua undang-undang negeri dan persekutuan melarang diskriminasi berdasarkan jantina, selaras dengan Artikel 8(2) Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan Konvensi Penghapusan Segala Bentuk Diskriminasi Terhadap Wanita (CEDAW). • Bawa ke Parlimen pindaan-pindaan kepada Akta Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2006 yang tergendala walaupun sudah dipersetujui oleh Mesyuarat Komuniti Syariah Pejabat Peguam Negara pada 2006. • Meminda undang-undang mengenai rogol supaya definisi rogol merangkumi rogol dengan menggunakan objek dan rogol dalam perkahwinan. • Memperluaskan Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga supaya merangkumi pasangan yang tidak berkahwin, supaya ianya selaras dengan undang-undang jenayah yang berkenaan, dan supaya bantuan untuk mangsa keganasan rumah tangga diinstitusikan. • Luluskan undang-undang yang menyeluruh mengenai gangguan seksual, termasuk prosedur- prosedur dan remedi sensitif.
Pada tahun 2008, JAG menyeru wakil-wakil rakyat untuk “Kotakan Kata!” dan melaksanakan jaminan-jaminan pilihanraya untuk menghentikan diskriminasi berdasarkan jantina dan menegakkan hak-hak wanita. Lima tahun kemudian, pilihanraya umum sekali lagi menghampiri dan ahli-ahli politik giat mengulangi jaminan-jaminan dan janji-janji pilihanraya. Adakah retorik ini sekadar mengambil kesempatan ke atas isu-isu wanita?
Menjelang pilihanraya umum ke-13, JAG akan memerhati sama ada calon-calon pilihanraya mengambil kira tuntutan-tuntutan kami, serta mengajar serta memperkasa pengundi-pengundi wanita bagaimana untuk memantau calon-calon pilihanraya supaya mengutamakan isu-isu wanita.
Mahatma Gandhi pernah berkata “tindakan menzahirkan keutamaan”. Seperti itu, kredibiliti juga bergantung kepada tindakan. Kerajaan yang mengutamakan wanita seharusnya membuktikan kebolehan dan keinginan untuk mengubah undang-undang yang bercanggah dengan hak-hak wanita.
Daripada menjadi tin kosong, lebih baik diam-diam ubi berisi. Kini adalah masa untuk bertindak.
Kenyataan akhbar ini dikeluarkan oleh Gabungan Kumpulan Wanita Bertindak bagi Kesamarataan Gender (JAG) yang terdiri daripada: Sisters In Islam (SIS) Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) All Women's Action Society (AWAM) Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC) Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) The Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO) Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
JOINT ACTION GROUP FOR GENDER EQUALITY (JAG) : SEKALI LAGI, KOTAKAN KATA! (5 February 2013)
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) welcomes our Prime Minister’s promise that “the government would hasten effort to make changes to legislation, regulations, practices and thinking that obstructed the progress of women.” We look forward to seeing action match the rhetoric and call for pro-women legislation to be passed without delay, by the government of the day.
We trust that the promise made by Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, who is also the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, that “something good will not take seven years” demonstrates his cognisance of the seventeen years it took to amend the Domestic Violence Act and a new determination to prevent further delays to law reform. Law and policy reforms that ensure justice and challenge discrimination should not take seven or more years before being passed and implemented. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Yet, in our experience, such delays are the norm. In just over a decade, JAG has submitted 22 memoranda to the government that highlighted urgent areas for reform and action. Most of these have received scant attention or response. Efforts to adopt pro-women laws and policies can begin with a review of these memos and the recommendations contained within.
In particular, we call for the following reforms to be prioritised: ● Ensure that all state and federal laws prohibit gender-based discrimination, in line with Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution, and that all national legislation is consistent with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. ● Table the pending amendments to the regressive Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Act 2006 that were agreed upon by members of the Syariah Community Meeting organised by the Attorney General’s Chambers in 2006. ● Amend our rape laws to expand the definition of rape to include rape with an object and marital rape. ● Expand the Domestic Violence Act to cover intimate partnerships, to harmonise it with all relevant pieces of criminal justice legislation, and to standardise institutionalised support for survivors of domestic violence. ● Introduce comprehensive laws on sexual harassment, with sensitive procedures and remedies attached
In 2008, JAG called for elected representatives to ‘Kotakan Kata!’ and make good on election promises to end gender-based discrimination and uphold women's rights. Five years hence, we are once again at the cusp of a general election. And once again our politicians repeat their promises. Which pledge is genuine and which a blatant appropriation of women’s issues?
In the upcoming days, not only will JAG be measuring the performance of potential parliamentary candidates on our demands, we will also be educating women constituencies around the country on how to monitor whether their representatives take women’s rights issues seriously and ways to hold them accountable.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Action expresses priorities.” Similarly, credibility rests in action.
A government that prioritises women should demonstrate its ability and willingness to change laws that work against women. Enough talk: now is the time to act.
Press statement released by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), which comprises: Sisters In Islam (SIS) Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) All Women's Action Society (AWAM) Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC) Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) The Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO) Persatuan Sahabat Wanita (PSW) Tenaganita
Stop prejudice and stereotyping - The Star - Musings (31 January 2013)
HAVING been brought up always to be polite, I can be quite shocked when people are rude and direct.
Once many years ago, an American woman asked me how it felt to be an oppressed Muslim woman.
After getting over my shock, I put it down to sheer ignorance.
Not long after, a Russian man, ostensibly well educated, asked me why Muslims liked to cut off their enemies’ heads.
I’m not sure how I managed to contain myself but it did give me an insight into how some people have no idea how their words can sound to others.
Since those days, I have managed to develop much better shock-absorbers and few things manage to rattle me as before.
I have heard people blithely ask me why we don’t simply kill all people with HIV as a way of containing the epidemic, as if they were giving me a bright idea to solve a simple problem.
In all seriousness someone also told me that the reason why black people don’t excel at swimming is because their skin pigments are so heavy it is difficult for them to float.
All these people genuinely believed that they were imparting wisdom.
It never occurred to them that they might sound totally out of sync with the times, where racist and genocidal ideas no longer hold currency.
Still, it is rare for me to hear anything so shocking any more.
Most people I know would never stereotype or judge others by the colour of their skin, their race or their religion.
We take everyone as equals and value them for their talents, skills and ethics.
It thus becomes a major shock to me to find that outside that circle, the world is different.
Reading headlines in some local newspapers I find myself disturbed by the blatantly racist stories that pass for news.
While such outright racism towards fellow Malaysians is not yet considered de rigeur, foreigners are easy targets, especially if they don’t come from countries more developed than us.
Whole continents of people are deemed criminal with impunity and racist epithets trip off tongues and pages as easily as praise for politicians.
When I remark on this, people defend the racism. The media, they say, are just stating “facts” about some people whom “we all know” tend to commit crime.
It never seems to occur to anyone to question these “facts”, any more than it occurs to right-wing Americans to question the “fact” that Muslims are all terrorists and spend all our time stoning people.
To say that the media is only reflecting what people think is to hide behind a disingenuous bush.
The media both reflects and creates stereotypes.
Indeed, it reinforces them, and then refuses to take responsibility for any violence that may result.
An Indiana man who was charged with setting fire to an Islamic centre said the only Muslims he knew was what he saw on Fox News, a channel that doesn’t bother to hide its prejudice against Muslims.
Similarly highly distorted news on the LGBT community in Malaysia has resulted in some of them suffering violence at the hands of thugs.
Let’s not even mention the things that some Malaysians get away with saying on social media.
There are those who claim to belong to a religion of peace, yet happily spew the most vicious anonymous diatribes against those of other faiths.
Worse, this is done in the name of their own faith.
The result is a lot of counter-prejudice and stereotypes.
My people, the people I knew growing up as infinitely polite, gentle and considerate, are these days labelled uncouth, intolerant, aggressive and hypocritical.
Just because a few people are intemperate in their language, all of us are labelled thugs and louts.
Worse still, those who strut around with an air of unwarranted superiority claim to represent all of us.
If my fellow citizens feel hurt by the actions of these few, I feel hurt too.
My people are being labelled haters and bridge-burners when throughout history we have been the most accommodating and hospitable of people.
Because of a few bad examples, all of us have to suffer from sometimes barely-concealed condescension.
And racism breeds racism; some people only know to respond to hate with even more hate.
Since our leaders fail dismally to delineate between what is right and what is so patently wrong, it is left to civil society, especially young people, to find ways of making a peaceful point.
Last Sunday, we sat under shady trees and read books to enlighten our friends and ourselves.
And with that, we rose above the muck and saw one another clearly for the human beings that we are.
ALIRAN: Why Bible-burning poser is bridge-burning in multi-religious Malaysia (22 January 2013)
Why Bible-burning poser is bridge-burning in multi-religious Malaysia
22 January 2013
In a joint media statement, Aliran, Sisters in Islam and Islamic Renaissance Front have condemned Perkasa’s call to burn Malay-language Bibles as an abominable provocation.
We are appalled by the vile exhortation of right-wing Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali to fellow Muslims to burn Malay-language Bibles containing the word “Allah” in the continuing saga of the contentious use of the term in Malaysia.
This dangerous and reckless provocation will only court the zealotry of the bigots and consequently tear apart the existing fragile harmony among Malaysians of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Religious conflicts do not get resolved amicably and effectively by rabble rousing and dangerous antics such as the proposed torching of the holy books of believers.
The alleged distribution of Malay Bibles to Muslim children in a secondary school in Penang (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/219421)– yet to be verified – may have understandably caused deep concern among the Muslim community and requires immediate investigation, but it certainly doesn’t justify the burning of the Holy Bible. The provocation is mischievously intended to ignite hatred and extremism.
An understanding and appreciation of non-Muslim communities which is so necessary for unity and harmony cannot be promoted effectively by committing a sacrilegious act of burning holy books that are revered by their respective believers. In fact, this proposed act by Perkasa goes against the very teachings of most revealed religions including Islam. The burning of holy books is an abominable act that cannot be justified. This was why the proposed burning of the Qur’an by an irresponsible pastor in Florida, USA some two years ago, for instance, received the well-deserved condemnation not only from Muslims but also from the majority of the right-thinking Christians and followers of other faiths.
This abominable call to burn the Bible becomes all the more despicable and sinister when it is intended to shore up the crumbling political fortunes of Umno-BN by manipulating the emotions of the Malay-Muslims, and also to divert the public’s attention away from the recent revelation of citizenship-for-votes in Sabah. Indeed, it is dangerous and mischievous to incite ethno-religious sentiments at the altar of political expediency. Additionally, it is feared that this proposed burning may provide an ugly precedent to the burning of other holy books in future particularly those of the Sikh community, which uses the word “Allah” in its religious texts.
In the interest of the future of Malaysia, and its ethno-religious diversity and harmony, peace-loving Malaysians, irrespective of creed and colour, must condemn this Perkasa provocation unreservedly. We must send a clear signal that the majority of Malaysians are accommodating and tolerant people who will not be taken in by this despicable act of recklessness.
Jointly released by: Aliran, Sisters in Islam and Islamic Renaissance Front 22 January 2013
If your organisation would like to endorse this statement, please send an email to aliran.malaysia at yahoo dot com
In the past when mutual suspicion and mistrust increased between Malaysians of different faiths, very little has been done to build the bridge of trust and friendship we badly need.
I WATCHED an extraordinary video the other day.
In it, the imam of the Omar Makram mosque in Cairo, Egypt went with a delegation of 1,000 from his congregation to attend a Christmas service at the Qasr Al-Dubarah Church, also in Cairo.
Invited to speak, the imam sounded a clarion call for tolerance, respect, dignity, humanity and unity amidst difference and tumult.
He also stated that Christians and Muslims must be united against any foreign and internal plots at increasing sectarianism or imposing imperialist / colonialist designs on the Egyptian nation.
When I reposted this video on Facebook, people responded with delighted surprise, both Muslims and those of other faiths.
Obviously we are all hungry for positive actions and messages like this.
A group called MyJihad that aims to reclaim the word ‘jihad’ to mean a personal journey and goal to do something good first posted the video.
At the end of it, MyJihad stated that their jihad was to build bridges between faiths.
It struck me that in the past few years when mutual suspicion and mistrust has increased between Malaysians of different faiths, very little has been done to build bridges and create peace.
Everyone, especially politicians and religious officials with a political bent seem keener on burning bridges instead.
Each day another hurtful word is said, another suspicion aroused, another seed of mistrust sowed.
It is only because ordinary Malaysians are far more sensible than their leaders that there has been so little violence unlike say, in places like Pakistan.
For that we have to be thankful.
Yet, it doesn’t take much if one were so determined to build up the seeds into a many-branched tree of hatred.
Not only are bridges being set alight between faiths but also within faiths.
Those of us who want to be more respectful, conciliatory and generous are told that we are at risk of losing our faith.
Yet in this video, here was an imam, educated in the venerable institution of AlAzhar, who walks into a mosque, embraces his Christian brothers and states that it’s his Islamic duty to be kind and neighbourly to them.
He stresses that what Egypt needs now more than ever is unity between all her people, regardless of faith or creed, because they have so much to do the right the wrongs of the past, and repair the damage done by years of misrule.
It struck me that unity is also what Malaysians need: all of us, not just some.
Once upon a time we stood firm against attempts by colonialists to divide and rule us.
Starting now, we must do so again.
We must therefore find ways to reach out to each other in peace.
I know a lot of people have great ideas on how to do this, especially on neighbourly and community levels which is where it is most needed.
But the idea that struck me most while watching this video is one that seems most obvious.
Just as we have twinning of cities in Malaysia with cities around the world, why can’t we have twinned places of worship?
Why can’t a mosque and a church pair up and do things together?
For example, they could, like the imam of Omar Makram mosque and the pastor of the church, visit each other especially during special occasions.
At other times, they could do gotong-royong at each other’s premises or have family days.
In this way, the congregation of the mosque and the church can build a relationship with each other to not only understand each other better but also in building that bridge of trust and friendship we so badly need.
Imagine if Masjid Negara twinned with St John’s Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur?
What a beautiful example that would set!
Maybe the imam could be asked to speak at the Cathedral and the archbishop could be asked to speak at Masjid Negara?
The day that happens I think I would cry, just like the time I weeped after hearing a Muslim imam recite the Al-Fatihah at the cathedral in Perth on the 10th anniversary of September 11.
There is nothing more moving than when you realize that we are all one people on this earth.
However, I’m sure it’s not going to happen because some people are determined to stress that they are superior to everyone else.
Even when we are far behind everyone else in innovation, creativity and development in today’s world. Our tiny little kampung seems to be all that matters to them.
Isn’t it odd that those who think they are above everyone else have the smallest minds and hearts?
Hari ini, kami mengingati ‘Nirbhaya’, nama yang membawa makna ‘berani’, bersempena nama seorang wirawati yang berarung nyawa selama dua minggu setelah cedera parah akibat dirogol dengan ganas di New Delhi. Pada 16 Disember 2012, wanita berumur 23 tahun ini bersama dengan teman lelakinya menaiki sebuah bas untuk pulang ke rumah sesudah menonton wayang. Wanita muda ini dirogol dan disula dengan batang besi oleh lelaki-lelaki dalam bas tersebut sementara temannya dibelasah teruk. Mereka berdua akhirnya dicampak keluar dari bas tersebut. Hampir sejam mereka dibiarkan sahaja di tepi jalan, tanpa dibantu orang ramai, sebelum pihak polis sampai.
Peristiwa-peristiwa rogol yang ganas tidak asing dan turut berlaku di negara kita Malaysia. Kami kenang Noor Suzaily Mukhtar, seorang jurutera komputer berumur 24 tahun yang mati dicekik setelah dirogol dalam bas oleh pemandu bas tersebut. Kami ingati Canny Ong, seorang penganalisis komputer berumur 28 tahun yang diculik di tempat letak kereta, dirogol, kemudian dibakar. Kami tidak pernah lupa kanak-kanak yang tidak berdosa - Nurul Hanis Kamil, gadis 16 tahun yang dirogol dan dibunuh semasa dalam perjalanan pulang dari sekolah, Nurul Huda Ghani, 10 tahun, yang diculik dan dibunuh oleh seorang pegawai sekuriti, dan Nurin Jazlin, hanya 8 tahun semasa dia diliwat kemudian dibunuh. Dari 2001 hingga 2011, statistik polis menunjukkan kejadian rogol yang dilaporkan meningkat dari 1,217 ke 3,301. Statistik-statistik ini hanya mewakili sebahagian kecil daripada jumlah kejadian sebenar. Kajian menunjukkan bahawa ramai mangsa tidak melaporkan kejadian rogol kerana takut dipandang serong oleh orang ramai, sering menyalahkan diri sendiri dan takut tidak dipercayai oleh pihak berkuasa.
Hari ini, kami memberi penghormatan kepada mendiang Nirbhaya dengan mengulangi seruan kita kepada pihak kerajaan untuk melaksanakan tuntutan-tuntutan yang terkandung dalam Memorandum Mengenai Rogol yang disampaikan oleh JAG kepada kerajaan pada tahun 2003. Walaupun beberapa tuntutan sudah diterimapakai, banyak lagi perlu diberi perhatian lanjut. Antaranya ialah tuntutan untuk mengiktirafkan rogol dengan objek sebagai rogol. Kini, rogol dengan menggunakan objek digelar “perhubungan seks dengan objek”, suatu kesalahan luar tabii yang membawa hukuman maksima lebih ringan berbanding rogol.
Sebagai sebuah negara yang telah meratifisasikan Konvensi Penghapusan Segala Bentuk Diskriminasi Terhadap Wanita (CEDAW), Malaysia bertanggungjawab untuk memastikan undang-undang serta dasar-dasar negara selaras dengan keperluan dibawah CEDAW. Menurut CEDAW, keganasan terhadap wanita, termasuk rogol, merupakan satu bentuk diskriminasi terhadap wanita. Artikel 5 CEDAW menegaskan bahawa selain reformasi undang-undang, kerajaan perlu mengambil langkah untuk menangani prejudis dan stereotaip yang merbahaya berkenaan tingkah-laku dan dan peranan wanita dan lelaki, yang berdasarkan kelebihan atau kekurangan yang kononnya wujud antara kedua-dua seks. Kesaksamaan mesti wujud dalam undang-undang dan realiti. Wanita hari ini, walaupun semakin terlibat dalam dunia politik dan awam, masih lagi menghadapi gangguan seksual dan seksisme.
Kes rogol Nirbhaya telah menarik perhatian kepada padahnya membiarkan seksisme dan pembencian terhadap wanita berleluasa. Salah satu pesalah dilaporkan berkata dia merogol Nirbhaya kerana Nirbhaya berani keluar di tempat awam dengan lelaki yang tidak sekeluarga dengannya. Nirbhaya juga dilaporkan dipukul lebih teruk kerana melawan balik dari dirogol. Undang-undang wujud tetapi tidak cukup berkesan untuk melindungi kita daripada rogol. Apa yang diperlukan adalah perubahan kesedaran di kalangan masyarakat.
Rogol adalah jenayah berasaskan keganasan dan kuasa. Di peringkat masyarakat, isu keganasan seksual terhadap wanita dan kanak-kanak mesti didahulukan. Keganasan seksual bukannya isu peribadi antara individu-individu yang berkenaan, sebaliknya merupakan pencabulan hak-hak asasi manusia. Keganasan seksual adalah jenayah. Penyiasatan dan pendakwaan yang tidak berkesan mesti ditangani dengan serta-merta, terutama sekali apabila mengambilkira bahawa jumlah laporan mengenai keganasan seksual amat rendah. Pandangan sempit dalam masyarakat mengenai peranan dan kedudukan wanita dan lelaki perlu diubah, dan ketidakseimbangan kuasa antara wanita dan lelaki perlu dipersoalkan. Sudah sampai masanya kita berhenti memberitahu wanita dan kanak-kanak untuk mengelakkan diri daripada dirogol. Sebaliknya kita mesti mengajar golongan lelaki dan remaja supaya berhenti merogol. Hanya dalam kes rogol mangsa ditanya tentang pakaiannya dan dipersalahkan. Sikap seksisme dan diskriminasi gender perlu dihentikan serta-merta. Semua pihak, termasuk lelaki, harus mengambil langkah-langkah untuk menangani punca berlakunya keganasan seksual.
Hari ini kita mengingati Nirbhaya yang berani menghadapi penyerang-penyerangnya, serta perjuangannya untuk terus hidup. Kami sentiasa mengenang insan-insan lain yang terkorban yang telah menjadi simbol kegagalan kita terhadap anak-anak perempuan dan juga anak-anak lelaki kita. Kita semua perlu tegas bahawa keganasan seksual tidak boleh diterima dan mengorak langkah bersama untuk menghapuskan ketidakadilan ini.
Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), yang terdiri daripada: Persatuan Pergerakan Wanita (AWAM) Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor Persatuan Wanita Perak Untuk Wanita ( PWW) Pertubuhan Pertolongan Wanita ( WAO) Pusat Kesedaran Wanita (WCC) Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO) Sisters in Islam (SIS) Tenaganita