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#BreakTheSilence on Rape Culture

Smita Sharma was molested by a professor and then, her cousin committed suicide after facing abuse. Today, this photojournalist traverses...

sabato 14 novembre 2015

Incest, rape and paedophilia in the Malay heartlands

Members of All Women's Action Society (AWAM), a Malaysia non-government organisation, hold placards during a peaceful public protest titled 'Citizens Against Rape Walk', demanding better protection for women and girls against sexual violence, on June 7, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Over recent years, Malay kampung life has witnessed a massive rise in drug use, crime, domestic violence, incest and rape

The rural heartland of Malaysia has a dark side, with an increase in incidence of domestic and social problems. Decades of state neglect and politicisation of infrastructure at the very grassroots of society have been accompanied by a decay of social morals and ethics.

The repulsiveness of incest, rape and paedophilia is destroying the social fabric of Malay society.
The police have been accused of suppressing crime figures, the government accused of suppressing the problem, ministers have denied that this is a "Malay problem", religious authorities have put the blame on the victims and the public is apathetic to the problem.  

Incest, rape and paedophilia were not even mentioned in the government’s transformation initiative to fight crime.
Even the most hardened person would be shocked at the brutality in some of the cases. Just recently, 17-year-old Intan Suraya Mawardi was raped and her throat cut by a security guard who was her boyfriend in Balik Pulau, Penang.


Malaysian student raped and murdered in Penang 2 NOVEMBRE 2015

A security guard with possible accomplices gang-raped, sodomised and strangled to death 8-year-old Nurul Huda Abdul Ghani in Tanjung Putih, Johor.
Bus driver Hanafi Mat Hassan brutally raped and strangled computer engineer Noor Suzaily Mukthar in a bus at a remote place in Shah Alam
Cases of children raped by close relatives who should be trusted protectors of children are horrific.
A man with multiple wives sought their assistance to repeatedly rape five of his daughters aged between 12 and 15 years over a period of 18 months until one of the daughters reported him to the police. Two became pregnant and had abortions.

A stepfather had repeated sex with an underaged stepdaughter who gave birth to a stillborn child at school.
Another stepfather raped his 11-year-old stepdaughter when her mother and elder sister were not at home.
A girl was locked up by her father in a room, where she was repeatedly sexually abused with objects.
A grandfather and uncle together repeatedly raped their granddaughters and nieces while they were looking after them over a two-year period. It was only when one of the children became pregnant that the mother found out and made a police report.
Many cases of incest involve adults as well. There are many cases of fathers and daughters having consensual sex. In Kelantan, a 47-year-old mother and 22-year-old son were fined and jailed for incest. 
A reported rape occurs every two and a half hours in Malaysia. However, there could be as many as 40 rapes a day occurring across the country.
According to a parliamentary report, in 2013 there were over 3,000 cases of rape and incest reported, of which 1,424 directly involved rape. Ninety percent of these rape cases involved underage girls. Eighty percent of the accused perpetrators were known by the victim.
According to estimates, only 20% of rapes and incest that take place are actually reported. Out of those reports only 20% of accused are actually charged and only 3% are convicted.
Contact abuse, voyeurism, self-exposure and child pornography are not included in the above statistics.
In many of these cases, rapes were carried out not by strangers, but by people close to the victims. The perpetrators were people who were supposed to be protectors of the victims: fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles and even mothers. Most go unreported until a pregnancy occurs.
The majority of perpetrators of these crimes come from low socio-economic rural environments, many from Felda areas, were relatively uneducated and earning below average wages. Sixty-six percent of the perpetrators were Malays and 82% were over 50 years old, while the victims were under 16 years old.
The perpetrators would claim that sex was their right from a daughter and the acts were consensual. They claimed that the victim was "manja" (affectionate) and the act occurred because of "suka sama suka" (consent), even though she was a child.
Some claimed the children were temptresses and "ripe for the plucking".
Prison Department director-general Zaman Khan once asked why a father raped his own daughter and reported this reply:
"As a father, I had planted the seed before my child was born. Thus I am rightfully the person to taste the fruit before anybody else."
Research indicates many perpetrators believed "women were created to fulfil men’s dreams", "men are meant to lead women" and "women need to be taught and shown the right way".
Some used the logic that their daughters were motivated by lust and that by satisfying them at home, their daughters would be less likely to go with others.
Many perpetrators had a proprietary attitude of ownership over their children according to Universiti Sains researcher Dr Rohana Ariffin and Rachel Samuel of UiTM Malacca.
These perpetrators used persuasion, coercion, manipulation, the power of their relationship and religious dogma to have sex with their victims.
Some believed the Quran allows them ownership over their daughters and claimed they were rightfully their sex slaves, according to Islam.
The perpetrators didn’t see sex with their daughters, granddaughters or nieces as rape because no violence was used. Boyfriends blamed the girls' parents, saying that the parents didn’t like them. Others blamed pornography and uncontrolled lust.
Many committed incest while their wives were pregnant and unavailable for sex or were going through menopause.
One of the major problems in rural areas was that the young children themselves had no idea that these acts of incest were actually morally wrong as they trusted the perpetrators' word.
Mothers are very hesitant to report incest to the police because of the stigma involved for the daughter and themselves in a small community, and the fear of losing a breadwinner if their husbands were jailed.
Lack of institutional sympathy for victims
Victims of rape and incest suffer trauma. Some feel guilty about what happened, especially if the father is punished and imprisoned and blame within the family put on her. This often makes the victim feel degraded and humiliated.
Some become pregnant and either have an abortion or become a mother, which creates great stigma and feelings of shame in a small community.
Many become withdrawn from others. They develop low self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness.
This can affect their other relationships, causing them to become mistrustful of others. They may also develop abnormal and develop distorted views on sex. In some cases victims become suicidal.  
Unfortunately much social comment on the subject of rape and incest is not very helpful in solving the problem. Controversial social commentator and professor Riduan Tee puts the blame on alcohol consumption for rape and incest, which just doesn’t fit the facts. He uses Islamic dogma to make his case and calls for the closure of all breweries to solve the problem.
Religious leaders and politicians have created myths that men are enticed by women’s dressing styles, and try to shift the blame away from the perpetrators to the victims.
Recently, the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) prepared a Friday sermon urging women to cover their bodies to avoid becoming victims of sexual crimes like rape and incest.
An Islamic group, Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia, earlier this year said when a man marries a woman, there is no need to get consent for sex. At a recent hudud seminar held in Bangi, ustaz Hakim Othman said "most sexual cases involve false accusations".
This attitude is also developing within the younger generation. Munirah Bahari, a vice-president of the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia, said the white baju kurung (school uniform) was transparent and thus too sexy and lured rapists.
These ideas are of little help in solving such a serious problem faced by Malay society today.
The problem of rape and incest in the rural heartlands of Malaysia needs more attention. Failure to act makes Malaysia less safe for children.
Malaysia has one of the highest rates in the world for rape and incest cases, and to date the problem has received very little government attention.
Amending laws will not solve the problem as there are deep educational, economic and social issues involved.
People in these poorer rural areas of Malaysia feel powerless due to the lack of opportunities around them. According to Dr Rohana, a culture of poverty has been created in the rural heartlands of Malaysia. People grow up resenting others and transfer their aggression onto the easiest victims they can find.
Frustration and feelings of powerlessness are increasing the levels of aggression in rural societies today.
Rape and incest is increasing within the Malay heartlands where morals have become skewed due to distorted religious ideas. The strict and repressive moral codes publicly enforced may have created some form of psychological rebellion where people escape this repression through lewd acts of sexuality.
The dogma and manipulated repression by those who utilise Islam for their own ends must be fought through education.
Parks, recreation facilities, lonely roads and other remote places have become rife with couples engaging in sex throughout the country today.
One potential cause of the problem could lie within the patriarchal system of Malay culture itself, where women are taught to be gentle, sweet and submissive to elders. This allows elders to take advantage.
Rape and incest could be seen as a result of uneven feudal power relations and a distorted perception of women within Malay rural society. Dr Rohana’s research indicates that many incest and rape cases occur because of an elder persuading, coercing and manipulating a younger person.
Girls are still treated as a lesser member of the family and provided with dolls, play tea sets, taught to cook, look after a household and be emotionally dependent upon males.
There is an unequal balance of power between the genders in rural Malay society today. Husbands are still considered the unquestioned head of the family in rural areas.  
The position of women is still culturally suppressed. Women are still stereotyped as subservient to males.
This can be seen in the number of parliamentary seats women hold and the way women are treated within the civil service. With these hanging over attitudes, it will be very difficult to teach boys to respect women as equals – the generational solution to the problem.
The long-term solution is a cultural shift of Malay culture which will meet great resistance within society as the current balance of power favours chauvinistic males who hold the reins of power with little female intellectual input.
The educational system, mosques and grassroots organisations like KEMAS must begin a massive information dissemination programme to deal with these problems where they are happening.
Better education, social and economic opportunities are required to enlighten and bring rural folk into modern Malaysia. Rape and incest statistics hint at a major rural development policy failure on behalf of the government.
Finally, the government needs to take a strong moral stand rather than a legal stand. It has to convince people that rape and incest is taboo, and the lowest form of life.
The escape of former chief minister Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik from statutory rape charges more than a decade ago indicates the poor moral stance the Malaysian government has taken on the issues of rape and incest in the past. – November 14, 2015.
* Murray Hunter reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

BORN TO BE RAPED? SOCIAL CRISIS IN MALAYSIA'S MALAY HEARTLANDS

Gang Rape Murder at Ampang, Malaysia.... KCChing  |  Posted March 21, 2009 

The Rape Report:  An Overview of Rape in Malaysia (2002)


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