We Spoke To One Of Selva Kumar's Victims Who Was Raped At 21. Here's What She Has To Say
Selva Kumar Subbiah, after serving 24 years in prison in Canada, is a free man in Malaysia. However, can a man like Selva — a psychopathic sociopath who kept a diary about women he raped, giving them ranks — ever change?
But the fact that he was still soliciting women and ran an illegal porn site from inside the prison in Canda clearly shows he is still not rehabilitated, and if the prison authorities are to be believed, Selva is unrepentant and is likely to rape and molest again.
"He enjoys the game, and rape is a power crime, not a sexual crime. He will never rehabilitate. He feels no remorse and feels persecuted," says Susan Chapelle, a researcher from Squamish in the Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.).
Susan is one of Selva's many victims. She was 21 years old when he raped her.
Speaking to SAYS about how she came in contact with Selva, Susan said she had responded to an ad for a pet that she saw in the paper. Selva, who told her he was in her neighbourhood, picked her up and took her to his home around 4pm, where he offered her a glass of wine.
21 and unsuspecting, she didn't think anything of it and drank the wine.
Next thing she knows, she woke up on his couch at 11pm. And while her clothes were on, her skirt was backwards. She felt disoriented.
"He told me I had fallen asleep and offered to drive me home. I knew I had been raped but I still let him drive me home. I had no idea where in the city I was and was unsure of what had happened. He dropped me at the house," Susan told us.
A few days later, Selva called her and they went for a drink again. However, she didn't drink this time. And she walked out of the bar they were in, Selva followed her.
"He pushed me up against a car by my neck. I fought him off and went home," Susan recalls, adding that she still didn’t tell anyone.
At that time, she felt disgusted and ashamed of herself for going out with Selva again.
Two years later, she was picked up by police at her workplace. They drove her home and told her how they found her. Susan's name was in Selva's diary with a rating.
"They only found him because the black book was found on the subway with hundreds of names, numbers, addresses and ratings in it. The police showed me pictures of the other women who were raped and photographed naked," Susan said.
Seeing those photographs was an incredibly traumatic experience for Susan, one which still leaves her with flashbacks of the photographs.
Susan says her experience with the authorities was so traumatic, she ended up receiving professional help. She lost her job because she was picked up in a police car.
While the trauma of what Selva had done to her caused her to lose her partner, Susan says it made her an advocate for equitable services and mental health resources.
"I also went into women’s health so I could take care of others," Susan, who is now 48 and works as a City Councillor of Squamish, told us.
"Rape happens to smart, unsuspecting women. I have never told my story in full, mostly out of embarrassment to disclose how I handled the situation," she added.
When asked how she felt upon learning that Selva was being released, Susan says it made her feel disgusted
"I felt disgusted with our justice system. He was only tried for a small part of his assaults," Susan said, explaining that in Canada, jail terms are short for rape crimes.
In fact, out of every 1000 sexual assaults in Canada, only 33 are reported to the police, and 3 out of 1000 lead to a conviction.
Those numbers are shocking, to say the least. On top of which, Susan told us that there are no services for victims. There is no co-ordination of trauma-informed care.
"The lack of resources has been horrible for victims. We still have 18 hospitals in B.C. with no forensic nursing for rape victims. It is still traumatic to think about," she added.
What was Selva's MO (modus operandi)?
Aside from posing as an agent for a modelling magazine and offering to do modelling shots for women, Selva would go to bars and pick married women, a safe bait.
Sleva would have them take him back to their homes, would drug them, rape and rob them, but because the women were married, they didn’t tell anyone.
He would photograph the women while drugged, and saved all the pictures.
Susan, who doesn't believe Selva has been rehabilitated, considering the fact that he was soliciting women from the prison, says he is violent and will repeat his crimes.
He had two wives, in two houses. He told them never to answer the phone, wouldn't let them wear sanitary products and would beat them.
While many people on Internet may think Selva deserves a second chance, Susan says he can never be trusted
A man who feels no remorse for what he did to hundreds of women and girls, one of whom was barely 13 years old, and instead, feels persecuted truly cannot be trusted.
In fact, Selva may have more access to drugs in Malaysia than he did in Canada.
One of the drugs that Selva used to render his victims unconscious is popularly known as "date rape drug". It's called Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) and it's available in Malaysia.
Another drug that is easily available in the country is Ketamine.
It induces a trance-like state and causes memory loss, due to which a woman who may have been sexually assaulted is unlikely to remember anything.
The frightening thing here is that most of these drugs are quite easily available in Malaysia, and if Selva wants to have access to them, it wouldn't be an issue for him.
After all, he was known to police as the "Rohypnol rapist".
What can the authorities in Malaysia do to prevent Selva from getting his hands on these drugs?
Susan says if there are no controls over the substances that are used as rape drugs, there should be a new policy implemented. There's a great need of services for women dealing with abuse and trauma. Mental health care resources. Women’s centres.
"Generally, this is all NGO and grant funded. It needs to be in the mainstream system funded with continuing resources. Like any other crime," she added.
What should the Malaysian government do now?
Susan pointed how we still don't have a registry for sexual offenders.
"The Malaysian Government needs a registry for dangerous sexual offenders," Susan said, echoing the clamour in the country has grown following Selva's return here.
We do, however, have a registry for child sex offenders that's handled by the Welfare Department, with names of convicted felons sourced from Malaysian courts.
The Child Registry, which falls under the Child Act (Amendment) 2016, however, and its database is only available upon request made to the Director-General of the social welfare department. You can read more about it here.
How can such a registry help?
Easy, like in the United States, a sex offender registry here would make it compulsory for the released criminals to register themselves in the area they reside.
In fact, a sex offender registry is one of the best ways for dealing with sex offenders
This registry would advocate the fact that people have the right to know that they have a sexual offender in their neighbourhood. It would also mean that the person has to inform the authorities if he moves to a new place. This way, making it possible for the authorities to keep track of him while keeping the general public aware.
Lastly, Susan warns that Selva was extremely manipulative
And now that he is in the Klang Valley, women here needs to be proactive and aware.
She is hoping that by coming forward and telling people that rape can happen to any women — smart, educated or otherwise — this will encourage others to appreciate each other enough to share. To love themselves enough to tell someone. To get help.
"To protect others and ensure if he does start again, that he will be imprisoned. It will be the responsibility of everyone, as it should be to ensure the safety of their communities," the Squamish city Councillor told us via email.