Malaysian rapist to marry his 13-year-old victim
A 40-year-old rapist is set to marry his 13-year-old victim, after she withdrew her accusation against her rapist after receiving the wedding proposal. Read more about child marriage and statutory rape in Malaysia here.
Imagine a 13-year-old walking down the aisle to get married. At the end of the aisle she meets her soon-to-be husband, a 40-year-old man who allegedly raped her!
The latest headline-grabbing news is a case of a soon-to-be child bride that received a marriage proposal by none other than her rapist. This case will add to the rising number of child marriages in Malaysia.
Adam*, a 40-year-old man who works as a restaurant manager in Sabah allegedly raped the young girl inside a parked car at the roadside in Inanam, near Kota Kinabalu at 10am on February 18.
Adam was open about his plans of marrying his victim May*, a 13-year-old student. She decided to withdraw her accusation against her rapist in a police report lodged on April 18 after receiving the proposal.
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According to reports, May had agreed to the marriage. This has made a lot of human rights groups question May's decision stating the fact the she must be under duress during the time of decision.
“Does this young girl have the mental and physical capability to consent to such an important decision like marriage?,” questioned Association of Women Lawyers' president Meera Samanther.
To make matters worse, the prosecution had no objections to the withdrawal of the case but informed Adam he will need consent from Syariah court to proceed with his plans of marrying May.
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Currently in Malaysia, the legal marrying age is 16 for Muslim girls and 18 for Muslim men. But they can choose to marry before those ages with the permission of their parents and the Shariah (Islamic) courts.
However, it is well documented that underaged girls who are married off are more likely to face domestic violence and sexual abuse. Young brides will also have an increased risk of death in childbirth.
Sharmila Sekaran, chairwoman of Voice of the Children, a rights group in Kuala Lumpur, also said the government should ban child marriages.
Loh Cheng Kooi and Melissa Mohd Akhir on behalf of Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) wrote how they can't understand how a 13-year-old girl can be ready for marriage.
"At the end of the day when a child needs protection and justice, laws and institutions have failed when a marriage certificate is used to legitimise sex with children," wrote Loh and Akhir on Sisters in Islam website.
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Ratna Osman, the executive director of Sisters in Islam, a Muslim women’s advocacy group in Kuala Lumpur, questions how a judge can determine whether a child is ready for marriage.
Keep in mind that sex with a 13-year-old whether consensual or not is considered statutory rape if the girl is unmarried.
"Yet once you do it under the name of marriage, she is no longer a minor? Her body has suddenly transformed into an adult body?” Osman continued.
“We cannot send the wrong message to society that statutory rape is acceptable if the alleged culprit subsequently marries the alleged underage victim,” commented Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong.
What are your thoughts on child marriages? Do you think child marriages should be banned? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
* Not person's real name