Wednesday, December 11

Outrage over rape-marry remark

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KOTA KINABALU: A person with a sound mind will not make a statement that it is fine for rape victims to marry their rapists, such as the one made by Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya.

“I am disgusted with this view. As a mother, I am more disgusted. This is like going back to the dark ages (Jahiliah) where it was okay to rape a person. For me, that is very wrong. I am disgusted with that attitude,” said Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid in condemning the statement by Shabudin.

“I am sure he is a father and a grandfather. If his daughter or granddaughter gets raped, does that mean he is going to let them marry their rapist? If he has a sound mind, he would not have made such a statement,” she said.

Jainab added that the statement was more unbecoming because it came from a leader living in a modern era.

“And I am totally against a rapist who raped a child and later wants to marry her. For me, rape is rape. If someone really wanted to marry the person, he wouldn’t rape first. And there must be something wrong in a person’s mind if they allowed a rapist to marry his victim,” she said.

Shabudin was reported making the statement at the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

The former Syariah court judge added that some girls who reached puberty when they were as young as nine years old were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.

“So it’s not impossible for them to get married,” Shabudin said, adding that there was “nothing wrong” with a rape victim marrying the rapist as it could serve as a “remedy” to the increasing social problems.

Shabudin was debating the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 after several Opposition lawmakers suggested amending it to include child marriages as an offence.

He said that although rape is a criminal offence, the rapist and the victim should be “given a second chance to turn a new leaf in life”.

“Perhaps through marriage they can lead a healthier, better life. And the person who was raped does not necessarily have a bleak future. She will have a husband, at least, and this could serve as a remedy to growing social problems,” he said.

Wanita PBRS condemned the sickening opinion expressed by Shabudin on rape crime and urged the MP to apologize to victims of rape crime over his insensitive remarks.

“Rape is a serious crime universally condemned by all, more so rape against a minor. Any suggestion or ‘back door solution’ which argues along the line of legitimizing a rape crime by means of legal marriage should not be accorded any legal statue whatsoever, and if anything, rape against a minor should be dealt with strongly and mercilessly befitting the painful trauma caused to the victim,” said Wanita PBRS chief Zainon Haji Kayum.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president Melanie Chia said it is unthinkable that Malaysia’s parliament has a member that is of the quality of the like of Shabudin.

“This member of parliament has utterly no respect for the female gender and has no empathy for the emotions of women which makes up at least half of the population in Malaysia.

“He is not fit to be a member of the parliament. It is outrageous for him to suggest that it was better for the rape victim to marry the rapist and that this could be an exit clause to the problem which would be a remedy to social problems.”

She said the ridiculous suggestion by the MP was in fact providing an exit to the perpetrators from being punished.

“And by doing so, he inevitably encourages this atrocious act of rape at the risk of more women becoming the victims.

“Furthermore, this MP fails to know that Malaysian laws define ‘child’ as a person who is under the age of 18,  and a person who has not attained his majority, that is, when he shall have completed his age of eighteen, and not before.

“How can we have faith in a government with such atrocious member? The government cannot continue to get into the limelight for the wrong reason. Shame on him for such unspeakable utterance,” she said.