EXCO Chong Eng urges Youth & Sports Ministry to set up an effective mechanism for athletes to lodge sexual harassment complaint

PRESS STATEMENT BY YB CHONG ENG STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCILOR FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT & NON-ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS ON 28TH MAY, 2021:

TIME TO SET UP AN EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR ATHLETES TO LODGE SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT

National swimmer Cindy Ong’s shocking revelation should be taken seriously despite the fact that the alleged sexual harassment took place 20 years ago when she was a teen.

The media report also disclosed that sexual harassment did not only happen to Ong but also other young male athletes, who were victims of sexual harassment too, according to a former national swimmer who remained anonymous.

The Youth and Sports Ministry should take immediate action to start looking into establishing a channel for athletes to lodge a complaint to prevent a repeat of such incidents in future while assisting Ong to lodge a police report.

Then the ministry should start probing the allegation by Ong and also find ways to protect other athletes, especially the teenage athletes.

While the Sexual Harassment Bill is yet to be tabled in the parliament, the code of practice on the prevention and eradication of sexual harassment in the workplace has long been in place since 1999.

The Youth and Sports Ministry should take the cue from the code on sexual harassment to set up a similar mechanism for athletes and make sure that it is an effective channel too.

A diving coach was charged for rape but he was freed by the high court in its appeal last year on ground that the prosecution failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

In 1996, national athlete coach C. Ramanathan was convicted of molest charges on two junior athletes aged 15 and 16, an offence committed at the Malaysian Amateur Basketball Association building in Jalan Hang Tuah between 9am and 10pm on Oct 23 and 27 in 1992.

There are reasons to believe that such cases are just tip of the iceberg as many suffer in silence for fear of backlash or being rejected to be fielded as athlete for voicing up.

There should be no room for sexual harassment, be it at home, workplace or training venues for a department head, a coach, a senior, or the opposite sex to take advantage on a lower-ranking staff, a junior or the opposite sex. 

Existing committees – the Athlete Representative Committee, the Misconduct and Harassment in Sports Committee and the Athletes’ Commission under the Olympic Council of Malaysia should not remain as a toothless tiger but an effective entity for one to lodge a complaint on sexual harassment.

Male and female athletes should not be the focus of attention only but also staff, especially the junior ones and those lower in ranking to be given the liberty to lodge similar complaint.

The media is good at highlighting such sexual abuse but it is not the right platform for one disclose such harassment, with the culprit not facing the music.

While the sexual complaint receives attention after being highlighted in the media, the sexual harassment is not solved once and for all.

For a long term solution, a proper channel should be set up for the victim to lodge the complaint and the complaint to be dealt with in an effective manner.


行动党全国妇女组主席章瑛于2021年5月28日的文告:

建立一个有效的机制,为运动员提供投诉性骚扰的管道

大马前游泳国手王碧燕揭露20年前还是一名青少年时被教练性骚扰的事件令人震惊,尽管20年后才揭露, 这总投诉应该被认真对待。

根据媒体报道,据一名不愿透露姓名的前国家游泳运动选手也透露,性骚扰不仅发生在王碧燕身上,还发生在其他年轻的男游泳选手的身上,他们也是性骚扰的受害者。

青年和体育部应立即采取行动,开始研究建立运动员申诉管道,以防止此类事件再次发生,同时协助王碧燕向警方报案。

青年及体育部应该开始调查王碧燕的指控,并实施保护其他运动员的方法,特别是年少无知的青少年运动员。

虽然《性骚扰法案》尚未提呈国会一读,但预防和消除工作场所性骚扰守则早在1999年就已出炉。

青年体育部应该借鉴关于性骚扰的守则,为运动员建立类似的机制,确保这也是一个有效的管道伸冤。

几年前一名跳水教练被控强奸跳水队女选手,但在去年的上诉中被高庭宣判无罪,理由是控方未能有足够的证据排除合理的疑点。

1996年,国家田径教练C. Ramanathan被判非礼两名15岁和16岁的少年运动选手罪名成立,这是1992年10月23日至27日上午9点至晚上10点在马来西亚篮总位于Jalan Hang Tuah的大楼内犯下的罪行。

虽然没有数据,我们有理由相信,这些案件只是冰山一角,因为许多运动选手因为害怕因发声而失去出线的机会而保持沉默。

无论是在家里、工作场所还是培训场所,性骚扰的事件不因该发生。部门主管、教练、资深员工或异性都不应该利用在位的优势对下属、低级职员或异性有性侵犯的行为。

现有的委员会——运动员代表理事会(Athlete Representative Committee)、反体育不当行为和骚扰委员会(Sports Misconduct and Harassment Committee)以及马来西亚奥委会下属的运动选手理事会(Athletes Commission)不应继续充当一只无牙的老虎,而应成为一个对性骚扰提出投诉的有效实体。

男女运动员不应该只是被关注的焦点,部门里的所有工作人员也应该被关注,特别是年轻和低层的职员,让他们拥有提出类似投诉的空间和管道。

性骚扰事件向来都受到媒体的注意, 但未必是一个揭露此类性骚扰的合适平台,因为不能对侵犯者绳之以法。

虽然此类投诉在媒体曝光后得到了关注,但性骚扰的问题没有一劳永逸的解决方案。

为长远解决问题,应建立适当管道,让受害者提出投诉,并对投诉调查且采取行动对付侵犯者,还受害者一个公道, 杜绝重犯。

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