Written by Cindy Banun
“Can’t Touch This” – Sexual Harassment Campaign Closing Ceremony
The “Can’t Touch This” campaign closing ceremony was held on the 17th of October. It was attended by the vice-chancellor Prof. Graeme Wilkinson, Dean of School of Arts, Prof. Harold Thwaites, Associate Dean Prof. Donald William Boyer Head of Department Dr Chan Nee Nee as well as lecturers Ms Catherine Lee and Mr Suffian Hadi Ayub. Speakers included Serene Lim from Empower and Nisha Ayub, a transgender rights activist, who is the co-founder of the community-run SEED Foundation and transgender campaign Justice for Sisters.
The closing ceremony began with a welcome speech by the “Can’t Touch This” campaign director: Priyanka a/p Lakshmana Raj, where she gave a summary of the events that were held, namely “You’ll Be A-mazed” and “Truth Be Told”, as well as her experiences working with the team.
Ms Serene Lim stated that it takes ten women for their voices to be heard. This shows that the perception of women’s voices within our society is so much weaker compared to men. This form of inequality has forced a standard of behaviour that women have to adhere to. Women are often told they shouldn’t be inviting sexual advances nor make themselves seem like an “easy” woman. It makes women ask themselves: “Did I do it to myself?” if they were to be sexually harassed.
During her speech, Nisha Ayub urged everyone at the closing ceremony that stopping sexual harassment is about “you speaking up”. She also said that continuous advocating is important so that those who wish to seek help and company will have a safe haven here at Sunway University.
After a magic show, the ceremony resumed with another speech by the Dean of SOA Prof. Harold Thwaites. He was surprised to see that both men and women are equally harassed, that is: 52.1% of men and 59.6% of women are sexually harassed, according to a research in 2017 by UTM. He stated that this may indicate the direction that the society is moving towards. He brought up the fact that we need to understand that even small gestures may be misunderstood. Nevertheless, it is an undisputable fact that sexual harassment is ageless, and genderless.
Next, we were treated to an acapella performance by Sunway Music Society singing a song about teaching others how to love. The closing remark was given by the vice-chancellor, Prof. Graeme Wilkinson who stated that sexual harassment is a problem that all of us are facing and that we should be vigilant in curbing such issues. He also stated that the poetry showcase was outstanding and that he was impressed by the passionate performances, which conveyed the depth and severity of the issue.
The closing ceremony came to an end with the punching of a Bobo Doll, and all the VIPs were invited on stage to do so. It signified putting up a stand against sexual harassment. Goodie bags were given to the VIPs and a photo-taking session was held after that.