Time to fight back

BULLY victim T. Nhaveen, 18, died on Thursday after being brutally attacked on June 10. This would be the third death in recent months of a young bully victim in Malaysia. Tahfiz pupil Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi died on April 26 and naval cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman from Malaysia National Defence University on June 1.

According to reports, Nhaveen had often been beaten and berated by bullies in school. His teachers described him as a “soft” and “gentle” person.

On the day of the attack, he had gone out with a friend when they were confronted by a group. The ensuing altercation turned into a brutal attack and Nhaveen was later found unconscious.

Thaqif, aged 11, had been punished at a federally unregistered religious school in Johor. He was subsequently admitted to hospital where his limbs were amputated. He later lapsed into a coma and died.

Zulfarhan, 21, was beaten up by six of his college mates and 13 others – all of whom wanted to force a confession over a stolen laptop. He died bruised and with burns on his body.

For all our anger, dismay and sadness, it seems that less than nothing is being done to ensure these cases don’t happen. In the case of the perpetrators, what kind of people raised such children.

The behaviour will continue into adulthood, and lead to others being abused as well in households, which will then lead to yet another generation of bullies. Bullying does not stop without intervention, and abuse begets abuse.

Case in point, a 39-year-old unemployed man in Pantai Dalam was found guilty of beating up his sister on June 15 by the magistrate’s court in Kuala Lumpur.

This also happens among those in authority. For example, late last year an officer with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was investigated for abusing and sexually assaulting his wife in Johor.

In Kangar, a 29-year-old woman was beaten by her husband last December. She ended up with bruises on her face, shoulder and knee. His reason? She had cut her hair after he verbally abused her for colouring it in the first place, thinking he would be happier.

Last May, social media highlighted the story of a husband who had beaten up his 25-year-old wife in front of a laundry in Kuantan. She had recently given birth to their second child. The woman refused to file charges.

We even had a 49-year-old veterinarian hitting his wife in an elevator in Jerantut, Pahang. This case made its way to social media in March 2016 after having taken place in August, 2013. It took three years after the assault for the man to be taken to court.

We have a huge problem when it comes to bullying in this nation, and the government, the authorities and even the welfare department and NGOs need to do more. But more than this, we must as a society declare zero tolerance for abuse.

It is time that we became nosy neighbours and call the police when we see bruises on women and children, hear angry screams at night, and even see people yelling at one another in a car during a traffic jam.

It is time to ask the moody co-worker who looks scared or stressed out of his or her wits if everything is all right. It is time to ask the withdrawn child in the class, or at the tuition centre, or even when they come over to play with your own, if everything is all right.

All this must be done to ensure no more tragedies occur, and it must be done to ensure that every person being abused is set free from the vicious cycle before a tragedy occurs. Some will use their status, their money, their power, even their religion to defend their actions as justified. This must never be allowed to happen.

And more importantly, it is time to stop those who peddle messages of hate, which allow bullies a platform to threaten hurt and even death to those who believe differently. Social media is full of such people, and it is time we fight back.

Hafidz Baharom is a public relations practitioner. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com