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Activists urge tougher laws, sex offenders list to address child rape

 

The death of a baby of an 11-year-old girl this week has reignited calls by activists for authorities to set up a sex offenders registry as a start to more stringent laws to address the issues of paedophilia and child rape.The Year 5 mother had reported of stomach pains and was found to be in labour last week. She was rushed to the hospital where her baby was delivered. The baby, sadly, died days later.Child-rights advocates say the case is the tip of the iceberg of the growing number of child sex abuse cases in the country, and reiterated calls for a child sex offender registry to be set up to protect minors.

Dr Ng Chong Guan, a psychiatrist based in Petaling Jaya, said the need to keep track of child sex offenders was crucial as paedophiles know that their actions are not socially acceptable and therefore, will go to great lengths to keep their urges away from public attention.

“Certain people develop sexual feelings towards objects, some even prefering soft toys, like teddy bears. However, paedophiles like prepubescent children. They don’t view children as human beings, instead they view them as objects to satisfy their lust,” he said.Activists claim their calls have been met with roadblocks. Police say they don’t have enough resources, and neither can they decide what kind of registry was needed.Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has said there are no plans to set up a child sex offenders registry at the moment, and that under existing legislations, the criminal records of offenders cannot be disclosed to the public.In it’s 2013 annual report, P.S The Children, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping sexually abused children, reported that out of 2,584 criminal cases involving children in 2012, 285 cases involved child abuse and 2,299 cases were rape.

dr_hartini_zainudin_closeup-child_activist-child_sex_offenders_story-130815-tmi-afifPolice statistics have also revealed an almost three-fold increase in reported rape cases between 2000 and 2009, while Parliament reports that the conviction rate for sexual crimes involving children in 2013 was below 5{123e3fafdb6db052bce257c2767c0501b4d69e09443e29bec7a694b24d0ee973}.In 2012 and 2013, more than 65{123e3fafdb6db052bce257c2767c0501b4d69e09443e29bec7a694b24d0ee973} of all sexual assault victims were under 18 years of age.Renowned child activist Dr Hartini Zainudin (pic, left) said the figures were a sad reflection of the lack of protection accorded to child victims of sexual abuse.

“Let’s say a child reports the case. Who does he or she report to? There is a tendency for parents to deny. When the child does get the chance to report, he is interrogated over and over again. The child gets confused and frightened,” she said.She has dealt with cases of rapes where the victims are under 10 years old, and none of these cases made it to court.The police consider children unreliable witnesses, according to Hartini.

“It can take up to two years for the court to take the case. Many times perpetrators get away. Even if they are caught, there’s very little therapy and rehabilitation for the perpetrator.”Nor Fazira Saad (right) was married to Mohd Fahmi Mohamed Alias in 2012 after she was allegedly raped by Mohd Fahmi. She was 13 years old at the time of the marriage. Fazira’s case has led women’s rights groups to criticise the Shariah Court for allowing child marriages. – File pic, August 13, 2015.Nor Fazira Saad (right) was married to Mohd Fahmi Mohamed Alias in 2012 after she was allegedly raped by Mohd Fahmi. She was 13 years old at the time of the marriage. Fazira’s case has led women’s rights groups to criticise the Shariah Court for allowing child marriages. – File pic, August 13, 2015.Child marriages on the rise

The issue of child marriages and child rape in Malaysia is a complicated and sensitive one. Child marriages are a cultural practice and not religious. However, in Malaysia, it has often been sanctioned in the name of Islam.In Malaysia, the legal minimum marriage age is 18, but it is 16 for Muslim girls. Those aged below 16 can marry with the consent of the Shariah Court.

child_marriage_in_2012_rape_victim_nor_fazira_saad_mohamad_fahmi-301113-tmiIn 2012, there were around 1,165 applications for Muslim marriages where in most of the cases, the bride was below the legal marrying age. The Shariah Courts in the different states and federal territories approved 1,022 of these applications.Right’s activist Mitch Yusof believes society cannot deal with the issue of child rape without first addressing the acceptance of child marriages.

“We allow child marriages in Malaysia, so how can we legislate against it? There’s a thin line differentiating paedophilia or what it is not,” he said.”Will only Muslims be allowed to have child marriages?”Activists are bemoaning the fact that many more children are going to be hurt, the longer it takes for authorities to agree to a definition of child sex abuse, and draft tougher laws against perpetrators.

“Paedophilia is a sexual desire towards objects: children. Let me stress on that,” said Dr Ng from Petaling Jaya.

“What is needed in Malaysia is a stringent act to protect minors and their families.” – August 13, 2015.

Source:http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/activists-urge-tougher-laws-sex-offenders-list-to-address-child-rape