By Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily
"If you want to rape someone, rape only one above 18."
That was what a male teacher told his class. Perhaps some might think it was just a joke. But ironically, the teacher was supposed to teach the students to avoid sexual harassment and enhance the students' knowledge in self protection in the event of a danger, but that particular teacher told his class that they could selectively harass or even assault other people's bodies!
Even if it was meant to be just a joke, it has relayed a wrong message that rape could be something fun.
As a result, the male students in the class giggled. They were obviously amused. In that class, rape was made something funny and enjoyable.
Only Ain Husniza exposed this incident. Her counseling teacher advised her not to take it too seriously; teachers claimed she was suffering from autism; social media users rebuked her as being busy body and even a male classmate threatened to rape her!
Ain cracked under tremendous pressure and at one point she even stopped going to school.
The young brave girl might not realize that she was actually confronting the collective misogyny in her society, not just that male teacher or the classmate but countless of others, too.
The word misogyny is derived from the Ancient Greek word "misogunia" which means "hatred for women". Out of hatred for women, some men tend to look down on women, bully them and treat them as subhuman.
Such an anomaly exists in every nook and corner of our society, and often such people can be instantly identified the moment they open their mouths greeting people's mothers or uttering words that denote female sex organs — a personality defect born out of sheer abhorrence for women.
To prove they are men enough, some tend to belittle women verbally or in action to manifest their manhood. As a matter of fact, such aggression is typically triggered by their embedded inferiority complex.
Back to the male teacher and Ain's male classmate. Perhaps these people don't even have the slightest intention of raping anyone, but because of their tendency to dislike and deride women, they have made rape some kind of joke, and through verbal violence, they are eager to show that they have the power to control women, including breaching women's most precious defense line.
This could easily sow the seed of evil in a student who is young, impulsive and lacks social experiences.
A physical and health education teacher who openly encourages his students to physically assault women might win the applause of his male students, while the other teachers in his school might come to his defense. Even his school will attempt to play down this whole thing, as the education ministry chooses to keep mum.
Why is this society so indifferent to things like sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape?
Our society is still drowned in misogyny that exists deep inside every community and culture here. The malady lives on in many different shapes and forms, and is being constantly reconstructed and reinforced, even as our society becomes growingly sophisticated.
We will only be able to overcome and defeat misogyny once we realize its problems, understand its build-up and realizing its violation of humanity and carnage on human rights.