Saturday, May 2, 2009

Perverts preying on the blind

Saturday, May 2, 2009 |

New Straits Times, Malaysia

Perverts preying on the blind
By : Lydia Gomez
22 April, 2009

Blind people of both sexes are open to attack every time they venture out of their homes.

THE blind, especially women, have become targets of depraved people out for a cheap thrill.
They are sometimes groped while being assisted across the road, scolded or even punched for no
reason in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

It is a situation that begs to be swiftly addressed, said the deputy executive director of the
Malaysian Association of the Blind, Geoffrey Ooi.

"I have heard of so many cases. I even accompanied one woman to the police station to make a report,
but nothing much has been done to investigate these incidents."

Ooi, who is also blind, said the blind were often beaten, groped, spat at and verbally assaulted. "A
number of cases have been referred to us. Some are punched for no reason, or if they refuse to allow
the attacker near them."

Maziah Abu Bakar, president of the Society of the Blind Malaysia, said blind women, especially those
working in the Brickfields area, had been taken advantage of.

She said some people talk to the blind on the pretext of helping them, and then take the opportunity
to grope them.

"This happens in daytime, near the monorail station, in public. But some of them can't even scream
because it happens very fast. A friend of mine told me that while she was walking, someone spat on
her face and just walked off. Another woman told me that a man grabbed her after offering to help
carry her luggage."

Maziah said there seemed to be a pattern in many of these cases of outraging modesty.

"I believe it is being done by the same people because the method is similar. They wait at
staircases, alleys and places where blind women walk after work. It is usually close to public
transport stops."

The incidents usually occur in the early mornings and late evenings.

Although the cases have been reported to the police, little has been done to restore the sense of
security of the blind.

"The police make it comfortable for us to lodge the reports. But without the means to identify them
properly, we cannot do anything," said Ooi.

Maziah added: "The police can't do much because of this. Even when such things happen in broad
daylight and in public, there are hardly any witnesses.

"I wrote a letter to the Women and Community Development Ministry last year suggesting that a
closed-circuit television camera system be set up along an alley where this usually happens. But I
have had no reply.

"These blind women have no protection. And they need help."


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