KUALA LUMPUR: Transgender Nisha Ayub's horrendous time in Kajang prison is not uncommon amongst transwomen – some have endured similar experience but due to fear many prefer to stay silent.
Recently, Berita Daily had managed to speak to a former inmate – also a transgender who had been in jail for the same reason as Nisha – but fearing that she might be targeted for revealing the black episode, the woman requested anonymity.
“The prison is not a place where you'll get education or a place where they can transform you into someone better. It is hell,” she said without hesitating.
“The transwomen are the minority and just like Nisha's account we are the easy target. They (inmates and prison guards) will make fun of you. There is not a day that you'll feel safe.
“I was humiliated. They strip my dignity away,” she told Berita Daily.
The transwoman mirrored Nisha's story saying that many transwomen had to seek protection from the prison guards but had to also return the 'favour' back to them.
“Nisha's story is common among us. We were an easy target. I was made to do what Nisha had to do to the inmate and after that I needed protection and found one.
“Sometimes I'll get extra food after a massage session. There was sexual elements but no penetration,” she recalled.
Asked to described more about her time, the 34 year old transwoman refused, saying that she was traumatised by the whole experience.
Meanwhile, human rights activist, Siti Kasim when contacted said sexual abuse and physical torture does not just happen inside prison but also in police lockup and involve religious officers.
“Once I went to a hairdresser and there was this beautiful transwoman with beautiful long hair. I admire her as a person as she was bubbly and friendly. I didn't think much of it because I accept people as they are. Anyway, the next time I went again to the hairdresser, I met her again but this time she was nearly bald and looking really sad and embarrass.
“I asked her what has happened. She told me she was just sitting at a bus stop waiting for the bus. A police car stopped and asked for her IC. It just happened that she just lost her IC but already reported and she has a piece of paper to prove it whilst she goes to make a new one.
Despite that, the police took her to the police station, stripped her and put her in a man's cell. Her hair was shaved and was told if she doesn't want to be charged, she has to give sexual favours to them. She was crying whilst telling me this story. I was shocked and angry upon hearing her awful experience.
''Of course the story above is about the police and not in the prison and of course, many of them have told me stories of abuse towards them including religious officers asking for sexual favours,” she disclosed.