A woman’s letter to the men of Malaysia

By Aidila Razak
Mar 3, 2015

COMMENT Dear men of Malaysia,

In 2012, a woman in Delhi was brutally raped and murdered in a bus after an evening out with a friend. Her rapist is now on death row.

The story of this young woman, Jyoti Singh, 23, resonated across the globe – and when it hogged Malaysian social media, I didn’t read a single comment saying she had it coming.

Her rapist and murderer however thinks she did.

Awaiting the hangman’s noose, Mukesh Singh in a BBC interview which will air this Sunday said that Jyoti, whom he and his friends took turns to savage was to blame for the injuries which led to her death.

A woman out at night is inviting trouble, he said, and when it happened she should have just laid there instead of fighting back.

I would like to think that you, the Malaysian male, do not think the same, but reading the reactions that came out of a recent Friday sermon about women who don’t cover their aurat does make me wonder.

There is not quite the need to recount the arguments for and against, the outcry that followed, nor the statistics that show that no, rape victims were not the ones scantily dressed walking about at night.

There is no need for that because you already know this. You know this because women’s groups have been yelling this at the top of their lungs every time someone blames victims for their own rape.

But why is that? Why is it always the women who are made to defend themselves when such statements are made? Isn’t this an insult to men?

Surely men are not beasts

Saying women are raped because of the way they dress is saying this: You, the men out there – you fathers, brothers, sons, friends and lovers of women – are all beasts who have no more control over your groin than your average mangy alley cat.

That you can hardly see a woman not covered from head to toe without wanting to pounce on her and if she does not give in, force yourself onto her. That for all your intellect and reason, the sight of a woman’s skin turns you into an animal.

And if she is stupid enough to struggle like Jyothi who fought for her life as the men ripped her insides out, you will do just that – punish her for not just lying back and enjoying it.

No. I don’t believe that you are like that.

You may sometimes make sexist jokes, or have different standards for women but I believe you are mostly kind, mostly responsible, mostly respectful of women.

You are not Mukesh Singh, counting the days to death thinking that you don’t deserve to be sent to the gallows. That this stupid woman out at night had asked for it.

You are not Mukesh Singh, and no woman walking around at night or in daylight, dressed in any way would make you turn into Mukesh Singh.

And I hope the next time someone says men rape women because of the way she dresses, you would not let these people insult you like this.

That you will stand up and say “Not this man” and that you would not be the only one.

Much love,


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