Over a third of Malaysian women have experienced sexual harassment and it has become even more alarming with an increase of such cases during the pandemic. According to statistics by All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), there were 162 complaints of sexual harassment in 2020, a drastic increase of 218% of its total cases from 2017 to 2019. Amongst those who had reported the instances of sexual harassment, most told a friend (54%) or family (51%) about being sexually harassed, rather than the police (15%).
To date, Malaysia does not have a standalone sexual harassment law in the country, resulting in many unreported cases as most people are unsure if they are able to get justice, or are not willing to spend the time and money required to get redress under the currently available laws.
In light of the growing concern, Truecaller, the leading Caller ID and spam blocking app from Sweden launched its annual anti-sexual harassment campaign – #ItsNotOk – in Malaysia, in conjunction with International Women’s month. The objective of the campaign is to encourage the survivors to voice out against the injustices of sexual harassment, specifically experienced through calls or text.
As the first line of defence, Truecaller offers a caller ID feature that identifies unknown numbers from individuals or companies before the user accepts the call. Users will see the true identity of each incoming call anywhere in the world, including landline, mobile or pre-paid. On top of that, the app’s spam blocking feature protects users against unwanted calls and SMS. Survivors can take advantage of the combined features to block out harassers from their phones. The app also has a unique community aspect to report numbers in real-time to protect other Truecaller users. Individuals who need further help to deal with a sexual harassment incident can reach out to AWAM, which provides free counselling services and legal information.
“Truecaller runs #ItsNotOk campaign globally every year around the world, and in 2021 we have decided to also run it in Malaysia to bring awareness to an important problem. Truecaller helps people understand more about who is trying to get in touch, and we’re passionate about creating a free service that helps people avoid unwanted communications. We believe everyone, both men and women, should speak out against harassment and strive to make communications more safe and efficient,” said Lindsey LaMont, Director of Brand Marketing at Truecaller. “Working hand-in-hand with AWAM through the campaign will help to direct the survivors of harassment to speak up and know where to seek help both in counselling and legal action,” added Lindsey.
Launched in 2009, Truecaller has assisted law enforcement agencies to fight crimes and even save lives globally. In one account, the app has helped a mother in Nigeria identify her daughter’s kidnapper, resulting in the daughter’s rescue. The first #ItsNotOk campaign started in India, and further expanded across 7 countries including Malaysia, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia.
“If you have been sexually harassed and you need support, AWAM is willing to assist the survivor to voice out and make a report to the authorities,” said Nisha Sabanayagam, Programme and Operations Manager at AWAM. “There’s no need to face this alone. Being sexually harassed is a traumatic experience. Even if you just want someone to listen, we will be able to support you,” added Nisha.
Download Truecaller for free to stay protected for yourself and your loved ones. It’s available on both Google Play and Apple App Store. If you need to seek professional support, please contact AWAM’s Telenita helpline at 016 237 4221 or via email at email@example.com.