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Male victims of sexual harassment on the rise



Male victims of sexual harassment on the rise​

Story by JUSTIN ZACK [email protected] • 14h


KUALA LUMPUR: The number of male sexual harassment and assault victims are increasing, according to Bukit Aman statistics.

Data from the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) Sexual, Women and Child Investigations Division (D11) showed that while female victims still mostly outnumber males, there has been a steady increase in the number of male victims.

On average, data showed nearly a 1% increase in male victims since 2021.

In 2023, the police recorded a total of 3,361 sexual harassment and assault cases with 135 of the victims being male or around 4% of total victims.

In 2021, the D11 recorded 82 male victims out of the 2,905 total, with that number increasing to 95 out of the 2,920 in 2022.

According to police statistics, six offences have been listed as sexual harassment and assault offences: rape, molestation, outrage of modesty, gross indecency, spread of lewd content and stalking.

Almost half of the male victims last year were linked to cases investigated under Section 509 of the Penal Code for outrage of modesty.

A further 32 men were victims involving the spread of obscene materials.

Two male victims had also been found to be victims of stalking, under the newly minted Section 507A of the Penal Code.

Statistics, however, showed no records of male rape victims, with all 4,491 rape victims in the last three years being women.

While female victims still vastly outnumber males, with 98.56% of the 9,198 victims of sexual harassment and abuse in the last three years, the police view cases of male victims seriously.

“The scenario in Malaysia shows an increase in the number of crimes committed as well as the number of the crimes being reported,” D11 assistant director Asst Comm Siti Kamsiah Hassan said in an interview with The Star.

“This increase is due to the evolution of crime on a global scale, with sexual crimes involving the Internet as a medium has made such crimes easy to cross country borders and reach a larger target of victims, be it children or adults, male or female, regardless of geographical borders,” she added.

ACP Siti Kamsiah also noted that the general awareness of such cases has also been on the rise.

“Awareness on the issue has helped give courage to male victims in combating sexual harassment and made it easier for them to share what happened to them.

“Revealing stories and open discussions on social media have also helped male victims in finding the support to not feel shame or fear.

“Awareness campaigns are also a factor in the increase of reports lodged by members of the public and those affected by such offences.

“They have shown the public and victims of their rights and the importance of reporting such crimes in the aggressive and complete effort in preventing them from being committed,” she said.

ACP Siti Kamsiah added that the increase in victims were also linked to sexual offenders that target male children.

“Online sexual harassment has given criminals the opportunity to commit sexual offences to children and adults alike, and this includes male victims,” she said.

Crime trends have showed that cases of sexual harassment and assault mostly occur in the workplace, in private homes and in public spaces.

“However, trends also show cases involving male victims are mostly children and involve suspects who are trusted people (to the victims) and also online acquaintances from games,” ACP Siti Kamsiah said.

She said that this does not mean that cases could not occur elsewhere as well.

In 2023, a total of 547 sexual harassment and assault type cases had been charged in court, according to D11 numbers.

This was an increase from the 467 cases charged in 2022.

“The current laws have been seen as sufficient in combating current crime trends.

“However, improvements and amendments to the laws are always being studied to be on par with the evolution of crime in order to keep crime fighting efforts at optimal levels.

“What is left is the willingness and awareness from the public, those who had been affected, to come forward in helping combat such offences,” ACP Siti Kamsiah said