"Shame On You" - Netizens Slam Minister For Statement On Girl Who Married Her Rapist
In 2013, the nation was shocked with news of a schoolgirl who married her rapist
Riduan Masmud, who was then 40 years old, raped a girl in a parked vehicle on a road near Kionsom Waterfall in Inanam, Sabah, between 9 and 10am on 18 February 2013.
The victim was 12 years old when the incident occurred.
Following the incident, the rapist, who is a father of four children, was charged with raping the schoolgirl. However, in his bid to escape conviction, Riduan told the court that he had married the girl. He had also bribed the victim's father a total of RM10,000 on three occasions in his attempts to get the police report the girl made against him withdrawn.
Riduan, a former restaurant manager, was found guilty of statutory rape, and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and two strokes of the cane in February 2014. He filed an appeal, but the high court dismissed the appeal pertaining to his statutory rape case in January 2015.
After almost four years, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim has revealed how the girl is coping following the incident
Rohani told the Dewan Rakyat recently that the girl is living with her parents in Kota Kinabalu and that she is still married to Riduan, who is still serving his 12-year jail term. The girl had even visited Riduan at the Kepayan Jail, Kota Kinabalu, January this year.
Rohani said this in a written response to Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching's queries on efforts made by the ministry to assist rape victims.
"We visited the girl at her family home on 18 April and she is in good health while the husband is serving time," Rohani was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
She added that the ministry had provided counselling and advice to the victim to ensure her well-being.
According to Rohani, the 16-year-old has no intentions to go back to school and instead wants to go to work
The Batang Lupar MP said that the welfare officer who visited the victim in March 2014 said the girl did not want to go to school as she was ashamed by the wide media coverage on her case.
"She is comfortable living with her parents and helps her mother to take care of the children of her siblings," Rohani said, adding that she was informed by the girl's parents that they had no problem in taking care of their children.
"She intends to work in the future so she could be self-sufficient."
Teo has responded by saying that Rohani's Parliamentary reply on the girl's case is sending the wrong message
She was reported as saying that Rohani's written reply appears to suggest that child marriages were the solution in cases of statutory rape.
Teo pointed out that she appreciated the Social Welfare Department's (JKM) efforts to visit the girl, however, she was worried over the girl's bleak future.
"Because she didn't continue her studies what type of job can she get for herself? It makes no sense for the marriage to take place in the first place."
"I think it is very difficult for any girl to go back and study after getting married at a very young age," Teo was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
Rohani's reply also did not sit well with some Malaysians, who opined that the ministry should have done more to get the teen back in school
Quite a number of netizens also questioned what the future holds for the young girl, especially after her convicted rapist husband finishes serving time in jail