No justice if rapist allowed to wed underage victim, says expert

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by Mei Mei Chu

PETALING JAYA (The Star/ANN) - Rapists marrying their victims doubles the trauma for the latter and is therefore no solution to the problem, says expert.

Allowing a rapist to marry his underage victim is not a solution, but will instead open the young victim to further physical, psychological and sociological trauma, says a criminologist. Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Forensic Science programme warned that in such a case, the rapist would benefit, while his victim would suffer in silence. “By allowing child victims of rape to marry their rapists, a very small percentage of cases are closed - not solved, but closed. The victims do not get justice,” she said. She was responding to statements by Barisan Nasional’s Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya in Parliament on Tuesday that there is “nothing wrong” in rape victims marrying their rapists as this could be a remedy for social ills and give both parties a chance at a better life. Dr Geshina said marriage was a “poorly disguised attempt” by the victim’s family, and the rapist and his family, to “save face”. Furthermore, she said, physical maturity did not define mental, psychological or spiritual maturity. “Puberty is part of the process of development and it does not mean fully developed,” she said. Dr Geshina said that paedophiles were not only attracted to the physical body of a child, but also the innocence and purity linked to the child’s appearance and age. However, once the child becomes an adult, the marriage often ends in divorce as the victim no longer has the physical traits that the rapist was previously attracted to. This, she said, might lead the rapist to then committing the same crime on other children, possibly even their own children from this failed marriage. From a physiological perspective, she said the underage victim might not be mature enough to bear sexual intimacy or pregnancy, but the rapist would have no problems with sex and may grow sexually violent, she said.