"She was ripe for the plucking" is a disturbing account of rape by the men convicted and imprisoned for the crime. Their accounts were published in a book entitled Rapist & Rape – Who & Why which was launched in Malaysia by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen last month.
"Dr Rohana Ariffin, retired associate professor of Universiti Sains Malaysia Penang, and her former student Rachel Samuel, currently a lecturer with UiTM Malacca, decided to focus their research on the rapist instead.
For 10 months in 2003, both women conducted interviews with 90 convicted rapists currently detained in four prisons in Seremban, Johor Baru, Kajang and Sungai Buloh aged 20 to 72. Each rapist was asked open-ended questions to solicit their perception and attitudes towards women, sexual history and experiences."
Both women acknowledge that their research is somewhat limited as they were only permitted a short period with each prisoner in which to conduct their interviews.
"From just 138 cases in 1980 to 912 in 1994, the number rose to 2,431 cases in 2006 and 3,177 last year. Between 2000 to 2006, Selangor and Johor recorded the highest numbers of rape while Perlis had the lowest number. For 2006, Selangor recorded 421 rapes and Johor 343.
Malays commited 66.3% of reported rape cases, followed by 15.3% by “others”, who are natives of Sabah and Sarawak and foreign workers comprising mainly Indonesians. Chinese are the perpetrators in 10.5% of the cases and Indians in the remaining 7.8%.
Many offenders are aged between 45 and 55. The most common types of rape they committed were incest and acquaintance rape. Ironically, 82% of respondents over the age of 50 raped girls aged 16 and below. The trend continues today with rape victims becoming increasingly younger.
The majority grew up in rural areas, including Felda schemes (71.1%), and had low education levels. Most are married and reported good relationships with their mothers but not their fathers. Their views concerning females are, in general, degrading and humiliating. They see rape as a sexual act rather than as a violent crime."
And the reasons cited:
The main reason was that it was their belief that the sex was "consensual" - or that "she was ripe for the plucking".
"Some of the men convicted for date rape or statutory rape told the researchers that sex was consensual and it was the girls’ parents who reported them because they disliked the men’s low-income jobs.
The rapists also blamed pornography and uncontrolled lust as the main factors which caused them to rape. Only two of them said women were to blame but over 60% agreed that women were temptresses."
"Despite years of progress and change, women are still objectified as commodities. They are still blamed for rape from the way they dress, talk or behave.
In June, Munirah Bahari, vice president of the National Islamic Students’ Association of Malaysia, caused a furore by stating that school girls’ white baju kurung was too sexy and lured rapists. Similarly, the Kelantan Government forbade women to wear coloured lipstick or high heels as these are deemed enticing to men."
It should be noted that this is not limited to Malaysia - this particular study was carried out in Malaysia. I am sure that if similar studies were carried out worldwide that, unfortunately, the results may be all to similar.