Have you ever felt humiliated, exposed and helpless all at once? That is how Hudzaifah Aziz felt when he went for a run and got harassed by a group of women.
More often than not, men are deemed predators and women the victims. There are so many who overlook the fact that sometimes, women can be just as bad - if not worse - than men.
In the 20-second he uploaded on Twitter, Hudzaifah can be seen jogging briskly around Taiping Lake Garden. When he jogged past a group of women doing some form of aerobics, they cheered, with one lady even trying to run after him. That’s not the full story, though.
Hudzaifah told us that he went down to Taiping for some better quality air as the haze in KL was bad, and decided to run a few laps. On his second lap around the lake, the women looked at him and smiled, so he smiled back so as not to appear unfriendly. On the third lap, as he was running towards them, he could hear the group of women saying “he’s coming, he’s coming, get ready”, and according to him, they moved in such a way so as to purposely bump into him. The final lap was the one shown in the video, with his friend recording the incident. Embarrassed by the unwanted attention, Hudzaifah didn’t continue and ran straight back to his hotel. He added that he also saw a kid recording him with a phone. While we can’t say for sure whether that was something the child was asked to do, it’s definitely not a pleasant experience.
Some may brush it off as a joke or say that it was an overreaction, but the responses would be very much different if the genders were reversed. Hudzaifah said this was not the first time he received such attention. His very first experience was back in primary school, when a group of men made unsavoury comments whenever he walked past them.
Other incidents involved his uncle groping him and a lecturer asking for sexual favours. This young man said that he has been actively involved in sports ever since young, and he understands it’s possible he receives the attention he did because of his body.
The responses towards the video were mixed, with many standing up for him. At the same time, there was a fair amount who questioned his decision to wear a running vest. In his Twitter thread, Hudzaifah expressed regret at posting the video because there were some who just laughed it off and invalidated his reactions.
When asked whether he has ever thought about speaking up against these harassers, he said he told his brother about it and the reply was “It’s not like they did anything anyway. You are just overreacting”.
Support from family and friends is something that matters a lot. Harassment is real, and it doesn’t just happen to women. Does the gravity of such incidents matter so much less just because the victim is a man?
Photo: Carter Law Firm
Hudzaifah asked, “What else should I do to stop all this? Stop doing what I love?” There are no maybes about it - it’s high time we, as a society, open our eyes and accept the fact that men can be victims too, and they deserve equal treatment.
By: Celestine Foo