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Rape, the four-letter word no one cares about

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Rape has nothing to do with sex – it is a violent crime used to assert one’s dominance over another, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.

Our country has a problem with rape culture – plain and simple.

Women often get the raw end of the deal. When rape happens, we were often told it occurred because of how we dressed or how we carried ourselves. Fact is, attire or mannerism have absolutely nothing to do with anything.

On average, it is estimated that roughly eight women are raped each day in Malaysia. Additionally, according to reports provided by Women’s Centre for Change (WCC), to date, roughly 3,000 rape cases are reported every year in Malaysia.

On average, 3,000 rape cases are reported yearly which also implies that one female is being raped every 35 minutes.

One every 35 minutes – that is more or less the entire duration of Majalah 3 without the annoying commercials and without the long-winded introductions.

According to statistics made public to us by the Home Ministry – between 2005 to July 2014, out of the 28,471 rape cases that were reported, only 4,514 (16%) were brought to court with merely 756 (2.7%) of the perpetrators found guilty.

If anything, these numbers prove that drastic amendments are needed to tackle the issue of rape effectively. However, given the lackadaisical and apathetic attitudes those in power have over such horrendous matters only proves that the misperception – or rather, rape myths exist in our increasingly patriarchal society.

Additional reports also indicate that from 2000 to 2013, there were 42,449 domestic violence cases, 31,685 rape cases and 24,939 molest cases recorded; 2,111 cases involved rape of minors in 2013 – that’s just one year alone.

These sexual assault statistics are alarming and provide a glimpse at how unconcerned and listless our system can be when dealing with rape. Rape is one of the most under-reported crimes – only one in every 10 rapes are reported worldwide, and with the frustratingly misogynist rape culture that exists, can you blame the victims for not reporting?

For those who aren’t exactly sure what rape culture means, it is a “culture in which rape is normalised due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality”. In short, it is the type of culture that puts the entire blame on the victim and regards rape as something trivial.

When a victim reports the crime, she is automatically scrutinised, put at fault and most likely told to go home, wash herself up and move on with her life. We simply live in a society that often views rape as something trivial – “no big deal, it’s only a woman’s body”; “boys will be boys”; besides, “she shouldn’t have worn that dress anyway”.

Numerous lawmakers from the DAP have suggested the creation of the Sexual Offenders Registration Act, which was first proposed in 2007 as a result of eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin’s brutal rape and murder.

The bill was initially supported by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, but nine years have passed and nothing tangible has taken shape yet. The creation of the Sexual Offenders Registration Act would be a positive step in safeguarding the wellbeing of those in our society – be they men, women and children – but enforcing this will require more than just black and white.

We need to teaching our children and adult men that “no means no” and that there are no “grey areas” when it comes to drawing the lines of consent.

Rape is wrong; it is a crime, and it does have consequences. Rape has nothing to do with sex – it is a violent crime used to assert one’s dominance over another and by using a method that violates a person’s right in the crudest and most repugnant manner.

Those who say otherwise and continue to downplay the severity of rape are simply upholding patriarchy’s most common perversion – oppressing others whilst upholding this warped sense of male supremacy and damaged male ego at any cost.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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