There were two stories I read recently which were published side by side.
One was about a 71-year-old man caught in a khalwat (close proximity) situation with a 14-year-old girl.
Next to it was a story from India in which a 16-year-old boy was desperate to stop his parents from marrying off his 14-year-old sister but sadly was too late.
I was struck by one thing: neither of these stories included the words "statutory rape".
Section 376 of the Malaysian Penal Code defines statutory rape as sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 whether or not she has given consent.
Discounting the second case because it is outside Malaysia, why didn't the police go after the 71-year-old man for statutory rape? And why did the reporter not bring it up?
At a time when politicians and law enforcers keep harping about the citizenry always obeying the law, how did they get to ignore it?
Two cases have made a mockery of our statutory rape law that carries a mandatory jail term of 20 years and mandatory whipping for each count upon conviction.
One was when the court refused to jail Nor Afizal Azizan for raping a 13-year-old girl as "taking into account that he is a national champion, the Court of Appeal ruled that it is not in the public interest as Noor Afizal has a promising future".
Good thing the South African court trying Oscar Pistorius isn't thinking that way because he certainly has a brighter future than Noor Afizal.
Then in the same month, the Penang Sessions Court released Chuah Guan Jiu who had been convicted on two counts of raping his 12-year-old girlfriend because "the sexual act was consensual and that he is a school dropout".
The judge also took into account that this was Chuah's first offence, and that he was considering his future.
Hopefully his future doesn't include continually raping his girlfriend for another four years until she reaches the age of consent.
When the law is clear on these crimes yet judges ignore them, then what is the public to make of it?
The public loses its sense of what is lawful and what is not.
Three years ago, a movie was made, the premise of which was that a young woman was sold into prostitution by her uncle, then bought by a rich man who repeatedly raped her.