It appears that Malaysia is having its very own #metoo moment following a flurry of accusations on social media of sexual misconduct. Riding on the wave of confessions following the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and others, no less than 8 men in Malaysia have been accused publicly on social media of sexual harassment and assault.
However, just as the #metoo movement turned a corner with the Aziz Ansari case where a seemingly ‘lacklustre consensual date’ turned into an accusation of sexual assault, the Malaysian version has brought up the controversial issue of sexual consent outside of marriage. The current definitions of sexual consent outside marriage are neither robust nor workable. Various infographics and catchy videos try to explain what it is but a cursory search on the web reveals convoluted definitions with sketchy concepts such as…… ‘enthusiastic consent’, ‘affirmative consent’, ‘reversible consent’ and other such terminology with impossible legislative functions.
One social media commenter stated that “consent can be withdrawn at any time, after 2 minutes or 2 years or 10 years after”. Another said that “a girl can stop consent after 8 strokes (thrusts) and that the consent therefore was only for 8 strokes”.
With such ludicrous definitions being proposed, it is clear that this type of ‘consent’ cannot do our moral work for us. Where is the line between a consensual and non-consensual sexual encounter?
It is blurry to say the least with too much ambiguity to offer a reasonable rubric. Prof Jed Rubenstein from Yale University wrote in the New York Times (15/11/2014) regarding sexual assault: “Our strategy for dealing with rape on college campuses has failed abysmally. Female students are raped in appalling numbers, and their rapists almost invariably go free. Forced by the federal government, colleges have now gotten into the business of conducting rape trials, but they are not competent to handle this job. They are simultaneously failing to punish rapists adequately and branding students sexual assailants when no sexual assault occurred.” What has happened in the western world and seemingly in Malaysia as well is the glorification of ‘sexual liberation’ as a false idol.
Any suggestions to restrict sex to within a marriage, to eliminate alcohol consumption, to instill modesty in conduct and dressing is met with reflexive shrieks of ‘victim-blaming’. Instead, we see mental gymnastics performed to come up with convoluted ideas of consent, solely to preserve at all costs the liberal unholy grail of commitment-free sex, disregarding health and safety concerns. Tremendous pressure is applied to our education ministry to adopt ‘comprehensive sexual education’ (CSE), a Trojan horse which presents sex out of marriage as a valid lifestyle choice.
So here we are again, witnessing the implosion of yet another tenet of Western liberal social mores.Just as the J.K. Rowling incident exposed the absurdity of the transgender movement, #metoo has also exposed the unmanageable problems which have arisen from hedonism, sexual liberation, postmodern nihilism, and self-indulgence. The solution has always been staring at us in the face although it is thought by many, who impaired by arrogance and ego, to be ‘unfashionable’ and ‘backwards’.
Religious injunctions to lower the gaze, to not go anywhere near zina, to avoid seclusion with members of the opposite sex, and to establish an atmosphere of modesty, mutual respect and dignity are all effective in mitigating the disasters such as those which unfolded recently. Abstention from alcohol and drugs, and conscious understanding that temptation enters the heart through the eyes and ears will enhance decision-making abilities and enable strictures to attenuate them. Children and youth must be taught that sex should only exist within the confines of marriage and anything outside of this should set their internal alarm bells ringing.
This would aid sex education a great deal instead of trying to teach children the different vague definitions of ‘sexual consent’ which even adults cannot agree on. At the population level, there is an urgent need for a wholesale reduction of the ‘hypersexual temperature’ of society. We all need to play a collective part in this to protect the vulnerable.Modest conduct and dressing should be emphasized, sexualized images and sexualized music should be removed from the public sphere, mixed gender interactions kept to only the necessary and most importantly, there need to be serious structural attempts to eliminate pornography.
No doubt those who do not share this worldview will hysterically retaliate that ‘men should be taught not to rape’ instead of the rest of us having to resort to measures which ironically for them, are in obedience to God. But as we have seen, the perpetrators of the alleged sexual assaults in the last two weeks are ‘woke male feminists’, all too familiar with the new-fangled concepts of sexual consent. With this in mind, any expectations for this pitiable schema to work are obviously dismal.
Dr Qalamu Nusaybah
International Women’s Alliance for Family and Quality Education
Credit featured image : The New York Times