Rapists need prisons not marriage

Shabudin-Yahaya-3

Barisan Nasional lawmakers are by and large known for saying exceptionally intriguing things. Their cognitive process is generally unlike any other and we should, as a nation, be greatly indebted to them for providing us with an endless stream of thought-provoking ideas and views to ponder upon.

On Tuesday, yet another Barisan Nasional lawmaker rose to the occasion to enlighten all of us with his proposed recourse for survivors of rape.

Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya, whilst speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, voiced his belief that rape victims can avoid being condemned to bleak futures by simply marrying their rapists. He opined that in doing so, the rape victim will, at the very least, have a husband.

Because, clearly, the pressing concern on the mind of every person who has been sexually assaulted, is who they will spend their golden years with.

Who in their right mind doesn’t want to wake up every morning and turn to find the person who violated them in the most heinous, despicable ways, lying next to them?

Why rape victims would want to marry anyone other than the person who ill-treated and abused them, is just beyond comprehension, come to think of it.

Fortunately, Shabudin has benevolently helped put things into perspective for all of us. Many of us have obviously been focusing our time and resources on the wrong aspects of the issue at hand.

Instead of concerning ourselves with helping victims of sexual offences seek adequate redress, appropriate levels of support and assistance as well as justice for the trauma they were subjected to, we should clearly be dedicating our efforts to helping them achieve matrimonial bliss, with their rapists no less.

According to Shabudin, there is nothing wrong with rape victims being betrothed to their rapists, as it could help rectify social problems, adding that with marriage, the rapist will have the opportunity to pursue a different non-criminal path and live a life that is better.

Shabudin’s views also very kindly took the rape victims’ prospects into consideration, stating that they will not be saddled with an uncertain future as they will at the very least have husbands to call their own.

Husbands, who by the way, most likely drugged or assaulted them, before ripping their clothes off and violently raping them most likely leaving them with physical and psychological trauma but hey, no relationship is perfect right?

Shabudin’s views are atrocious at best and dangerous at worst. In proffering the option for rapists to marry their victims, we would be providing sexual offenders with an easy route to get away scot-free with their heinous crimes.

As much as the MP may have his heart in the right place and would like to belief that his views would provide the much-desired remedy to certain existing social ills, they would in fact have the exact opposite effect by sending out the message that sexual offences are easily circumnavigated in this country.

By promoting such an abominable arrangement as accepted practice, we would be further encouraging sex offenders to transgress as and when they please.

If Shabudin is concerned about providing rapists with the opportunity to repent and giving them second chances, then those opportunities should be factored into a prison sentence, not via a marriage to their victims.

We have a serious, pressing problem with sexual crimes in Malaysia. Rapists and other sex offenders continue to blatantly violate an increasing number of not only women but also children and seemingly get away, in many instances, with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

We should be drastically changing our laws to mete out harsher, more stringent punishments to such criminals, not offering them their victims hands in marriage as well as long-term opportunity and easier accessibility for further sexual abuse.

Victims of rape do not need to marry their rapists in order to have access or opportunity to a good life. They are neither defined nor condemned by their unfortunate experiences.

To suggest that they would need to depend on the very person who violated them to offer them a bright future is highly erroneous and a great offence as well as disservice to survivors of sexual crimes.

Rapists should be made to pay for their crimes instead of being dealt a get-out-of-jail card.

Gayatri Unsworth is an FMT columnist.

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