I read with great shock, anger and disbelief the news report ‘Two years’ jail for man who fathered child with underage girl’ (The Star, 18 February 2011). According to the report, the 39 year old perpetrator who had raped the girl at least 11 times resulting in her subsequently giving birth, was charged under Section 376 of the Penal Code which provides a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping under conviction.
However the Sessions Court Judge only sentenced the man to two years’ jail and one stroke of the cane while the same news report carried another story about a laptop thief who was sentenced to four years’ jail and three strokes of the cane.
Looking at the report, we ask ourselves, what is our society coming to when we deem that a laptop and roll of wire is worth much more than the life of a child?
We need to make a statement that clearly says that sexual abuse is not tolerated and perpetrators will receive the full measure of the punishment that can be meted against them. What this person has done is not only inflicting a deeply rooted trauma on the poor child by raping her 11 times but also to place a heavy emotional baggage on the baby of the child knowing that his or her father is a rapist.
Is this fair? The perpetrator will be out in two years, but the damage done on the poor child and baby will last two generations. Perhaps it’s high time our system is reviewed to ensure that perpetrators get the punishment they truly deserve!
Persatuan Kebajikan Suara Kanak-Kanak Malaysia (SUKA Society), 18th February 2011