Raja Farah’s husband & Pandelela Rinong speak up against rape jokes in Malaysia

Gender-based issues can be a source of heated argument at times, but over the years, Malaysians have become more aware of the need to uplift women’s rights and are quick to call out injustices towards women.

Two days ago, actor Fauzi Nawawi came under fire for his rape jokes in a TV interview that invited backlash from netizens, including actress Raja Farah’s husband.

Now, national diver Pandelela Rinong is also speaking up against rape jokes in Malaysia as she shares her own experience on social media.

Actress Raja Farah and husband respond to Fauzi Nawawi’s rape jokes

Raja Farah on rape joke in Malaysia
Image credit: @rajafarahraziz

On 19th October 2021, a two-minute clip of actor Fauzi Nawawi responding to an interviewer’s question on whether he preferred to play a robber or rapist in movies started going viral on social media. In the video interview, he exposed details of a deleted rape scene featuring actress Raja Farah from the movie Anak Halal.

Fauzi, along with the hosts of the show, could be seen laughing on the clip as they made inappropriate remarks when they discussed the rape scene. This caused Fauzi to face severe backlash for being insensitive about mentioning the name of the actress who is now a mother of two.

Netizens on social media sided with Farah, saying that Fauzi shouldn’t have gotten so excited about explaining the scene by giving out unnecessary details and sounding as if rape is funny.

As the interview clip went viral on social media, Farah and her husband made a video calling out Fauzi’s insensitive behaviour and said that he caused unnecessary embarrassment to their family.

In a video posted on Instagram, Farah’s husband said the remarks made in the viral video were unnecessary and wrong on every level.

“We need to respect women and stop shaming them in public like this. I’m sure the people who said this wouldn’t have done so to their own sisters or mother. We are doing this video for the sake of settling the issue right here and do not wish to prolong any further,” he said, hoping that people will stop talking about it.

Pandelela tweets about coach who made lewd jokes

Pandelela rape joke tweet
Image credit: @Pandelela_R

A few days after Fauzi Nawawi’s rape jokes clip went viral on social media, national diver, Pandelela Rinong decided to call out rape jokes as well by sharing her own encounters with a coach who used to make lewd jokes.

In a viral tweet that has garnered over 29,000 retweets and 36,000 likes at the time of writing, Pandelela said the coach would often make lewd jokes and bullied her when she confronted him.

“I remained silent because I was afraid but when I decided to confront him one day as I can no longer take his jokes, I was bullied. After seven years, he committed a rape,” Pandelela revealed, adding that during those seven years, the coach had caused trouble for athletes but successfully escaped from being caught because he was backed by the head coach himself.

Pandelela urged that Malaysia needs a good leader who will not turn a blind eye towards serious sexual harassment issues such as rape jokes. She also urged victims of sexual abuse to speak up on their predicament rather than remaining silent, as their voices matter to prevent the issue from repeating.

Raja Farah’s husband & Pandelela Rinong speak up on rape jokes in Malaysia

It’s appalling to know that despite repeated media attention on the issue, there are still men who think and treat rape jokes light-heartedly, failing to see the harm they cause for women.

Such behaviour should not be tolerated at all costs, and we must continue to push for the change we want to see in our society. Let us unite to call it out to create a safer environment for women.

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Cover image adapted from: @rajafarahraziz, @SyarifahLyana and @pandelela

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