The concern about period spot checks in Malaysian schools have been in the public eye recently. While Sisters in Islam (SIS) acknowledges the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) initiative to visit and investigate the schools in question, they also urge the MOE for clearer regulations and measures to preserve the right to safe learning environments for our children.
In the latest statement from MOE Minister, Datuk Dr Radzi Md Jidin, passes off the period spot check practice as a tradition carried out by senior students. Considering this, while it may be true in certain cases, the source of the spot checks should be investigated further and traced to responsible parties. What SIS is hoping for is that the MOE gather information from a wider source, by collecting factual evidence and first-hand insights from the reported schools, and interviewing a larger group of victims.
In the meantime, SIS wishes to empower young girls by providing practical tips to uphold their rights whenever there are violations taking place. Here are three practical tips:
You have the right to say ‘NO’
At the vulnerable stages of life, our young girls need to be empowered to stand up in situations when their rights are violated. Should they face any kind of violation, including period spot checks, they must not stay silent — say no with courage! Rejecting violating instructions and aggressions is a sign of self-respect and shows that we demand respect from others for our bodily autonomy.
Raise your discomfort and concerns to trusted adults
Silence isn’t golden. In complex events where young girls cannot solve the situation on their own, it is a good idea to raise the issue with someone — whether it is their parents or another trusted adult.
Seeking help is not equivalent to being weak. When girls speak up and get the right parties involved, it can help stop harassment and bullying.
If the first adult you confide in does not stop the harassments, keep telling other adults. They could be counsellors, therapists, or legal authorities—keep telling until it stops.
Help is available
Sisters in Islam (SIS) works closely with Women’s Action Society (AWAM) and Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kendiri Wanita dan Gadis (Women:Girls) to raise important points around period spot checks — which results in issues like sexual harassment, body shaming, and the violation of personal bodily autonomy among young girls. Together, they aim to hold the MOE accountable in addressing the issue holistically.
NGOs you can reach out to
Young girls can reach out for help and assistance via these channels:
- AWAM Telenita: 016 237 4221 / 016 228 4221 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang Hotline: 011-3108 4001
- Seberang Jaya Hotline: 016-439 0698, available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (email@example.com)