FULL DISCLAIMER – This article is solely the opinion of the writer.
As a follow up to my post yesterday, I would like to touch on a few things.
The official statement from the involved institution has been released. Was this necessary? Of course, it’s a standard procedure. But was it necessary for the girl to share it with the world? Not really.
As stated, the boys and girl involved had only been in the college environment for a month or so – their journey has just begun. The girl/victim had recently been acknowledged by Elle Malaysia as a badass in their article for speaking out about her incident. This was a fashion magazine and there is this freshie on campus, and there is this cry of a rape threat. For some reason, that’s a bit of an odd mix…. or is it just me thinking this? She was badass for launching a thousand ships of altercation between people and causing a commotion that has impacted institutions and such. Helen of Twitterverse indeed.
Now to my take on this case, as a former media student, I feel that the story has been misappropriated to a point where it’s no longer a fight for women’s justice but one that goes against it. Considering how fast words can travel online, I think it’s time now more than ever that we need smart women to stop debasing their intelligence and directly shoot out a flare gun on to the twitterverse.
Kellie Low, 24, Malaysian PR graduate had a similar stance on how this case could have been handled, especially the girl involved. “I find the guy’s more at fault for joking so nonchalantly about something apparently beyond his comprehension, but the girl should not have blown up the issue, regardless of how upset she was. Screenshot, confront the person who made the rape statement, but why play victim-and-villian by posting and making it viral?”
From where I stand, female empowerment does not mean we have to degrade our opposite gender, but instead we should educate them. Blasting retweets and sharing posts on our newsfeed is not necessarily the only strategy to go about this.
The darker side of social media should be brought out of the light on how “tweetivists” take justice into their own hands without thinking of the repercussions they activate with 140 characters or less. Last year this article by the Observer relates the social justice warriors that take to social media to the Totalitarian doctrines and Marxism theory. Creator of Scandal, Shonda Rhimes has also pointed this out in her speech at Dartmouth that instead of merely tweeting #justice, they should act positively in the causes that they believe in. So why not instead of tweeting how the institution or boys involved should act upon this case, they go ahead and volunteer hours at a local shelter.
When I asked Tanya Nazeer, 24, who’s a fellow media student from Tanzania, she delivers a valid point; “There’s plenty of ways this could have been handled. I get it that the girl was just speaking out about the incident. But the keyboard warriors are the one who add fuel to the fire. They are the ones causing the PR mishap. The university shouldn’t take this as a scandal – yes they are your students. But take the opportunity to show how you care for the students and how you actually intend to change their mindsets for the better.”
Let’s step back to the starting point of this particular case. It is not about glorifying rape culture, but the public statement that a person of a political leader. How can we expect the socio culture in Malaysia to be more than a developing country when the leaders are still acting this way? I don’t see how it is justice when the institution drowns in the melting pot of opinions, while the man who started the joke goes off scot-free.
Now that the student involved has been given a punishment of 100 hours of community service; can we also hand over the learning opportunity to not only the warriors retweeting but also Mr. Parliament? I think that should be fair, don’t you?
As for the girl in question, a badass? Yes but not in the fashionable sort.