MALAYSIA: A Malaysian lawmaker has caused outrage after he suggested rape victims should marry their attackers in order to lead a good life and help solve social problems.
Shabudin Yahya, the MP for the ruling coalition party United Malay National Organisation, said: “The thing is they have an opportunity – with a marriage they can lead a healthy and good life.” The MP’s statement came during a debate on Child Sexual Offences Bill in parliament.
“For a woman that was raped, if she can marry [that person] she would not go through such a bleak future. At least she has someone who can become her husband. So this will be a remedy for social problems,” Shabudin said.
He further went on to defend rapists by saying it was not fair to assume that a person who committed a sexual offence will continue to be a bad person. “Maybe he repents, or regrets. It’s better to have people who regret rather than people who do not regret. So in this case, let us not put an assumption that the person will remain bad. [Marriage] can be an exit clause for this problem,” he said.
He even said girls aged between 9 and 12 can be married off as they hit puberty at that age and the physical state of their body is already akin to them being 18 years old.
Abdul Rahman Dahlan, a minister in the Prime Minister’s department said the remarks from his fellow lawmaker disappointed and shocked him. “It is abhorrent in this 21st century to suggest that a rapist – who should in the first place be prosecuted – has the means to escape legal responsibility simply by marrying his victim,” he said. He said it is statutory rape for a man to have sex with or without the consent of a girl who is under 16 years.
This article originally appeared on IB Times.