The family of a 13-year-old rape victim in Kota Kinabalu hopes that she can move on with her life and go back to school now that the rapist has been sentenced to 12 years’ of jail and ordered to be given two strokes of canning.
Praising the sentencing, right groups say that it sends a loud and clear message to rapists.
The girl’s aunt who has been taking care of the her said she was a bright student who dreamt of becoming a doctor.
“We just want her to get on with her life and achieve her dreams,” said the aunt outside the Sessions Court after the 41-year-old restaurant manager, Riduan Masmud was sentenced.
Riduan was pronounced guilty for raping the girl, then about 12-years-old, in a car by a roadside near the Kionsom Waterfall in Inanam between 9am and 10am on February 18th, 2013.
He told the court on May 20th, 2013 that he was married to the girl but the Attorney General’s Chambers decided to proceed and prosecute for the offence.
Ummu Kalthom Abdul Samad, the sessions judge acknowledged the fact that the victim had stopped schooling since the incident and was deprived of her teenage life when she became a housewife when sentencing Riduan.
Agreeing with the sentence, the Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group said the punishment would send a strong message to would-be rapist making it known that they cannot prey on children and then try to manipulate the system to escape punishment.
“This is important because of the worrying trend in rape committed against children in Sabah,” said its president Winnie Yee.
She acknowledged that 80% of rape cases in the in 2013 involved girls under the age of 16. Of this, 17% could be categorised as pedophilia as the victims were below the age of 13 and the rapist were at least five years older.
In Kuala Lumpur, Bar Council chairman Christopher Leong said that the decision is a reflection of the serious views held by law and society on statutory rape.
“It is also a welcome message that perpetrators cannot use the device of marrying the underage victim as an excuse to escape criminal liability,” he said. Leong also praised the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the prosecution and said parents should realise that marrying a child to her rapist often added to the harm done to their daughters.