Alarming figures of rape cases of children, below the age of 17, at 78% of the total number of rape cases for the past 5 years totalling 462 must be a forewarning of things to come as children are exposed to sex predators in real life and online.
I commend the Penang Police Chief Datuk T. Narenasagaran who has told it like it is, calling a spade, a spade by expressing his concern on the seriousness of this unspeakable crime rather than sweeping it under the carpet or downplay this menacing behaviour, or worse, disregarding the nature of the crime all together.
A 2014 report by Women’s Aid Organisation stated that only 10% of rape cases are reported, which means 90% of rape cases go unreported. This means, that we could be looking at 4620 rape cases, across the board in the past 6 years, and on average, 770 cases a year, 64 cases a month, and on average 2 or 3 cases a day.
This is indeed frightening figures to go by, especially if 78% of rape victims are children below the age of 17, then we have amongst us, 3603 children who have sexually violated, and mostly by the people they know, who presumably are known to their parents or caretakers as well.
Penang CPO also shared that a large number of underage rape victims knew their rapists or assaulters. A massive 90.7% of rape victims knew their rapists – from boyfriends, to family members, to acquaintances and new acquaintances. Only 9.3% or 43 perpetrators were unknown to the victims.
In Malaysia, the age of consent is 16, which means sex with an underage girl is rape. And many are unaware of that which means there is a lack of knowledge of the law i.e. the Penal Code and the Child Act, the justice process and the punishment meted out for the crime committed.
These figures, these numbers, that reflect on the number of broken children, violated by sex predators who are hiding behind the cloak of familiarity, confidence and trust must jolt all parents, community leaders, heads of religious bodies and places of worship to treat the matter with utmost importance and in view of the gravity of the crime.
Stop victim blaming. Stop ridiculing victims. Stop shunning child victims. Stop pushing away families that have victims who are family members. We are the society that we create, nourish, love, support and defend. We should be embarrassed and ashamed for not doing enough to protect our children instead of being embarrassed and ashamed to talk about this dangerous, wicked rape-culture amongst us.
Be fierce vigilantes in protecting our children and safeguarding their rights for their future and the future of the nation.