A team of lawyers has offered to assist parents or students who wished to sue schools involved in conducting “period spot checks” as a way to confirm reasons given for missing daily prayer sessions.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, lawyer Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos said he personally offered to take up the cases for free, along with a team of other lawyers.
“If the parents come forward, we have lawyers willing to represent them free of charge to sue the schools and teachers involved.
“This includes my friends and me.
“If it is a current case that happened this year or last year, apart from criminal action, parents can institute a civil suit against the school or teachers,” he said.
Alternatively, he urged parents or students to lodge police reports against those who carried out “period spot checks” where girls were told to physically prove they are on their period through means which violate privacy.
Girls in multiple schools who spoke to Malaysiakini said the measures include showing their blood-soaked sanitary pads, doing swabs of their vagina with either cotton buds, tissue papers or their fingers, or having a teacher, warden or school prefect pat them down at the groin to feel if they are wearing a sanitary pad.
“Clearly various offences have been committed there…molest, assault, violation of decency. These are all criminal offences,” said Jahaberdeen.
More than a dozen individuals had reached out to Malaysiakini with their stories from government residential and day schools, as well as private religious institutions, comprising both current students and others who left school up to 20 years ago.
Jahaberdeen said there is no time limitation to lodge a report against criminal offences, and the perpetrators can still be investigated and charged.
“So, if parents have evidence, then it is good for them to come forward so they can prevent these things from happening to other children.
“We should not let such a sick perversion be a norm in our society, especially under the guise of Islam.
“There are already too many abuses in the name of Islam, so we should stop all these things,” he said.
In Islam, women or girls who are menstruating do not perform ritual prayers.
Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor was the first cleric to speak out against the practice of period shaming, saying no one has the right to embarrass girls and women by checking their private parts and prove menstruation.
“Islam strictly forbids its followers from looking at other people’s aurat, even on the pretext of performing the required duties such as to prevent a female student from making excuses to abandon the obligation of prayer,” Wan Salim told Malaysiakini.
In calling for the education ministry to end such practice, psychological experts said period spot checks are “a form of bullying” that can have a negative impact on young girls for many years afterwards.
Other prominent figures who condemned the practice in schools include former ministers Rafidah Aziz, Azalina Othman Said and Maszlee Malik, while Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Rina Harun have vowed to engage the relevant authorities.
Amid the mounting outcry, Deputy Education Minister Muslimin Yahaya said yesterday that he still had not received any information on the matter.
Malaysiakini has also repeatedly attempted to reach out to Education Minister Radzi Jidin for comments. – Malaysiakini