This Malaysian Politician Believes Rape Victims Would Be Happier If They Marry Their Attackers
There's often more than one valid approach to solve a problem, but Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahya’s logic in helping rape victims can only be described as bizarre.
The member of the United Malays National Organisation had this to say during a debate on the Child Sexual Offences Bill at Malaysia's House of Representatives:
"The girl becomes safer when she is married rather than when she is left alone. Don't assume they (rapists) remain bad people."
Calling marriage to their attacker “an opportunity,” he explained that, “Perhaps through marriage they can lead a healthier, better life. And the person who was raped does not necessarily have a bleak future. She will have a husband, at least, and this could serve as a remedy to growing social problems."
Shabudin also voiced his approval over young girls being married off to, presumably, older men: "They reach puberty at the age of nine, or 12. And at that time, the physical state of their body is already akin to them being 18 years old. So physically and spiritually it is not a barrier for the girl to marry."
Lawmakers from across the political spectrum expressed their outrage over Shabudin’s comments. Even his fellow party member Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan, turned against him, stating, "it is abhorrent in this 21st century to suggest that a rapist—who should in the first place be prosecuted—has the means to escape legal responsibility simply by marrying his victim."
Rahman stressed that according to the Malaysian Penal Code, it is "considered statutory rape for a man to have sex with a girl under 16 years of age—with or without her consent."
He further stated, "Every child has the right to live, to dream, and to have fun. While it is the parents' responsibility to provide a decent childhood for their children, the government and lawmakers have the responsibility to protect the best interest of Malaysian children."