Hornbill Unleashed

March 22, 2014

Wan Junaidi trivialising statutory rape

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , ,

Heng Seai Kie

Rather than retracting his explanation that “non-Malays are more accepting of statutory rape” and despite the outrage by women’s groups and members of the public, I am appalled that Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar has sought to further justify his remark.

Wan Junaidi has now gone on to assert that “some victims lodge reports to save face or if parents did not agree to their teenage children getting married. Yet, the sex may have been consensual.”

Sexual assault knows no ethnic boundary. To turn the bodily violation and harrowing impact that sex deviants leave on the victims into a racial categorisation as to which ethnicity is more prone to being receptive or vocal against it smacks of obsolete colonial racial theories, bigotry and prejudice.

Such illogical racial stereotyping may actually open the floodgates to more sexual attacks against non-Malays, be they adults or still minor children, on the premise that “non-Malays are more accepting!”

After all, Wan Junaidi’s statement ridiculously implies non-Malays accept that ”it is okay if our children are raped as long as the matter is not brought into the open and can be covered up”.

If certain crimes so happen to occur more commonly among certain communities, the background situation of both perpetrator and victim must be taken into account and not simply square it on a person’s race, e.g. the socio-economic factors, peer pressure, geographical location, etc.

As a responsible leader, he should not make a sweeping statement or nonsensical justification before gathering any solid proof. If need  be, Wan Junaidi should carry out a study to uncover why there are more reports of child rape among the Malay community rather than uttering such statements which offend the feelings of other races.

Rape is rape, no excuses

Not only has Wan Junaidi’s slur belittled non-Malays, he even disdained the horrors which child and adult rape/molest and sexual harassment victims suffer, by adding that “to some non-Malays, marriage is considered a solution as there would not be any religious implications later when a child was conceived, unlike Muslims where a ‘wali’ is needed to perform the marriage rites.”

As a deputy home minister whose Ministry’s portfolio includes the Royal Malaysian Police and crime busting, I am surprised that he seems unaware that even if the intercourse is consensual, so long as one party is an underaged child and irrespective of gender, it is still statutory rape and therefore a crime.

Hence, how is it possible for underaged non-Malays to tie the knot when the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 permits marriages only with the following conditions:

Groom:

  • Aged below 18, not allowed to marry
  • Aged between 18 to 21 parents must consent to the marriage

Bride:

  • Aged below 16, not allowed to marry
  • Aged between 16 to 18, the chief minister must consent to the marriage
  • Aged between 18 to 21 parents must consent to the marriage
  • Aged 21 and above the consent of parent is not required

Both parties must willingly consent to the marriage. It’s an offence to force or threaten someone to compel him/her to marry against his or her will.

Wan Junaidi also compartmentalises victims as teenagers when paedophiles prey on prepubescent children.

Hence, the reasoning “to some non-Malays, marriage is a solution” holds no water as it is simply impossible, in violation of the law since Malaysian civil laws prohibit child marriage.


 

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