Cosplayer ‘victim blamed’ by police after reporting stalker: What can she do about it?
KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Malaysian cosplayer and TikToker, Pudds, tweeted about her experience being “victim blamed” at a police station after she lodged a report against a stalker at the recent AnimeFest in Paradigm Mall. According to Pudds, the officer told her that she was being harassed “because of what she was wearing” and that “this is the consequence”.
The police officer is reportedly under probe. But, what happened exactly? And what could you do if you were faced with the same situation?
What happened at AnimeFest?
According to Pudds, she said that she was followed by the stalker while she was at AnimeFest 2022 at Paradigm Mall. The stalker pushed towards her booth “whilst screaming and crying” asking her for a picture and to unblock him from Discord. She also noted that she had first seen the suspect at an event four months ago and that he had constantly harassed her on social media.
“He has stalked me for a while now, both online and in physical events. He even trailed me to my car at the parking lot,” she continued.
What happened when she tried lodging a report to the police?
Pudds said she went to the police station immediately after the event so she could lodge a report. However, she said that the police officer on duty uttered inappropriate remarks about the issue.
“I went to the police station in my cosplay because I needed to make the report fast. The officer told me “you’re wearing this, and selling these photos, so this is the consequence” “You’re also in the wrong”. I’ve been stalked and slut-shamed, buy1free1 how can you say that it’s my fault for existing and doing my hobby, it’s my fault so I need to deal with it?,” wrote Pudds on Twitter.
“Then he asked me “How old are you?” Which I said... 21. Then he said “go back to school, why are you doing things like this”... “are you a model in an agency? If not, don’t do this”,” she continued, “Who does this alpha male police think he is?”
Pudds also said that to have a “better time” at the police station, she just told the police officer that “everything was her fault”.
‘Tired physically and mentally’
I can’t help but to feel emotionally sympathetic towards Pudds while I was reading about her experience on Twitter. As women, we’re not unfamiliar with the feeling of helplessness after a harassment issue. And it rarely seemed worth it to make a report to the police when something like this happens—and the police officer victim shaming Pudds after bravely making a report is just one of the many examples as to why a lot of victims don’t end up making police reports.
However, it was reported yesterday night that the police officer who reportedly made the inappropriate remarks regarding Pudds’ report is currently “under probe”. According to Petaling Jaya district police chief Mohamad Fakhruddin Abdul Hamid, the police personnel involved will be investigated for a disciplinary infraction.
“I’m alright, I’m just really tired physically and mentally from everything that happened. Both the harassment and the shaming Please also stand with me as I have to go on with this and further investigations,” said Pudds on Instagram.
Here’s what you can do if this happens to you
The police officer who made the remarks toward Pudds can be seen as a misuse of power. People who have misused their powers as officers can be reported through the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC). Its goal is to enhance integrity among law enforcement officers and strengthen public confidence by investigating complaints.
According to EAIC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, their scope involves enforcement agencies—including the police, the Road Transport Department (JPJ), and others. He also remarked that based on the complaints that they receive, the great majority of them were against the police.
“I can understand why there are more policemen than any other enforcement agency and they interact more with the public,” said the chairman.
Through EAIC’s website, you can fill in an e-complaint form and make the report online. Besides filling in your own personal information, you need to also state the details of who you’re filing on. It includes choosing between a list of enforcement agencies like the Royal Malaysia Police, a branch of the Ministry, and others.
You’ll also need to note the name, position, and ID number of the officer — as well as the state, region, branch, name of a witness, and other details. Alternatively, you can call them through their hotline at 03-8880 5651/5625/5627 — or email them at aduan [@] eaic.gov.my
Some Twitter users also suggested going to another police branch to make the initial report if a police officer isn’t taking your report seriously. But if the report has been accepted at the station despite what the officer says, you can’t make a report for the same case at another station.
Also, as much as I think reporting to the EAIC is your best bet when you’re faced with a situation like this, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan stated that the EAIC mainly only “focuses on big issues” like death in custody. He also said they “need to be selective” to conduct their job effectively as the EAIC only has 78 staff members to monitor 21 enforcement agencies. Potentially “smaller” cases like harassment incidents might be deprioritised. — SoyaCincau
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