Islamic family law not meant to protect rapists

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It is an erroneous afterthought to fall back on the enactment to rally the Muslims to support him for his outrageous suggestion, writes P Ramakrishnan.

Tasek Gelugor MP Shahbudin Yahaya was rightly criticised for his callous remarks in Parliament stating that “rape victims should be allowed to marry their rapists as a remedy to social problems”.

To begin with, his suggestion cannot be considered as a remedy. He is merely providing an easy escape route for the rapist who had committed a heinous crime against an underage little girl.

There is no remedy for the innocent victim who had been taken advantage of. There is no justice whatsoever for the victim. Worst of all, there is no punishment for the perpetrator of this crime. It does not address this evil social problem nor does it provide a solution. It only allows for this social problem to continue unabated.

Someone asked pointedly, “Would you like to have a rapist as a son-in-law?” Or for that matter, I may add, as a brother-in-law?

Would Shahbudin accept a rapist as a relative if his kith and kin were the unfortunate victim of a savage, bestial crime?

Without showing any remorse or regret for a silly suggestion, he is now trying to take refuge in Islam. He is trying to imply that there is a remedy for rapists in Islam. Can he seriously tell us that the enactment that he quoted was specifically enacted for the protection of rapists?

With reference to the motion to be tabled at the forthcoming Penang State Assembly censuring him for his remarks – and in trying to justify himself – he now quotes the Islamic Family Law (State of Penang) Enactment Sections 8 and 18 which allow for underage marriages in special cases under certain circumstances.

In falling back on these sections of the enactment, he brazenly claims that introducing the motion of censure in the state assembly is tantamount to criticising the Islamic Family Law and challenging Section 8 and Section 18 of the same enactment.

The motion, I would imagine, would confine itself to Shabudin’s remarks in Parliament without mentioning Sections 8 and 18 of the Islamic Family Law. These sections have nothing to do with his remarks in Parliament. Shabudin did not mention in Parliament that his remarks were sanctioned and supported by the Islamic Family Law.

It is an erroneous afterthought to fall back on the enactment to rally the Muslims to support him for his outrageous suggestion that this enactment is meant to protect the rapist.

What is a matter of grave concern is the fact that no mention is made of the poor innocent girls seduced and ravaged by the unscrupulous lust-ridden demons walking in the form of human beings. Why is their future and their wellbeing not a matter of justice and compassion?

Forcing into a love-less marriage when she is hardly ready for it is to condemn her to a life of servitude. She has to endure the shame and contempt of some quarters and be subjected to their ridicule following the bad publicity of the rape.

All that the rapist has to do, it seems, is to marry her so that he goes scot free without any punishment or obligation to his victim. Subsequently, if he so wishes, he could easily divorce her and abandon her without a care in the world. Her entire life would have been ruined. Doesn’t this bother Shahbudin’s conscience?

This quotation aptly describes the torment and trauma rape victims go through their entire lives: “Rape is a more heinous crime than murder since the rape victim dies throughout the period she lives.”

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P Ramakrishnan
P Ramakrishan, the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on our executive committee, has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.

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