Truecaller app, a solace for sexual harassment victims

SEXUAL harassment can befall anyone (both men and women) or occur anywhere – from workplaces to campuses, public places or even worship places.

Between 2013 and 2017, 79% out of a total of 1,218 reported sexual harassment cases involved victims who were women, according to statistics from the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM).

In a survey conducted by YouGov Omnibus on 1,002 Malaysians in December 2019, it was found that 36% of local women have experienced sexual harassment compared to 17% of men. Also, only 53% of victims reported or told someone about their harassment.

More than half of the respondents (54%) cited humiliation as the main worry or fear for not reporting sexual harassment. This is followed by feeling alone and helpless (38%) and fear of consequences (26%).

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.

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 for the first time 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.

Nisha Sabanayagam

In addition, users/victims 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.

As for individuals who need further help to deal with a sexual harassment incident, they can reach out to AWAM (All Women’s Action Society) which provides free counselling services and legal information.

“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 AWAM’s programme and operations manager Nisha Sabanayagam.

“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.”

The Truecaller app is available for download on both Google Play and Apple App Store. – March 17, 2021


Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE