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Instil respect for women when young
Published on: Sunday, April 22, 2018

By JT
WHEN rape occurs, the usual response in our society is to advise women to dress decently or to be more careful when they step out of their homes, or even to take self-defence classes.

For too long, women have been blamed and shamed when sexual violations are committed against them.

The problem is not the way women dress, it is the rapists who must be made to face the full brunt of the law.

We need to address this problem at its roots. In particular, we need to educate our boys to respect women/girls and make them accept that rape is wrong. Parents must teach their sons that it is wrong to harass, molest or rape girls/women. The culture of respecting women must start at home.

Recently, it was reported that a 17-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by nine soldiers in Kluang in December last year. It was reported that she tried to commit suicide on Jan 16, and about a month later (Feb 22), she lodged a report at the Kluang police station. On Feb 25, she was confirmed to be nine weeks pregnant.

There were 29,698 rape cases reported from 2006 to 2015. On average, that is 3,000 each year, which means eight girls or women are raped in Malaysia every day. And it is no secret that a large number of incidents go unreported.

A report in Parliament estimates that only two out of every 10 rape cases are reported to the police, and that around 87pc of women who have been raped know their rapist. The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry ought to work with the Education Ministry to train, educate and raise awareness among teachers and students in preventing and reporting rape and sexual aggression. This is important because moral policing has not only failed to deter sexual aggression but also continues to blame the victims.

It puzzles me why leaders of all religions are not actively speaking up on this issue.

If they do not condone sexual violence on girls (which I am sure they don’t), why are they not actively speaking up about it? Clearly, more preventive education needs to be done. One 17-year-old rape victim is one too many.

We should put the blame on the aggressor, not the victim.

JT

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