KUALA LUMPUR - About 100 people gathered at Sogo shopping complex here to protest against sexual crimes and violence following the acquittal of a 60-year-old man accused of raping a minor.
Bunya Jalong, who fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl, was acquitted of rape despite DNA tests proving that the child was his, after claiming that he had impregnated her by inserting his semen-smeared finger.
He claimed that he never penetrated her and that was the basis of his acquittal.
The protest, called the #Hentikan Rogol# or Stop Raping Our Children, saw about 100 protesters who were clad in orange to signify a bright future for women and children free from sexual violence gathering outside Sogo shopping complex here at about 3.45pm yesterday.
During the rally that was organised by Citizens Against Rape (CAR) and several other women NGOs, the protesters also held placards with slogans against sexual violence and rape.
The group of protesters then marched towards Suria KLCC after speeches by several NGO leaders.
A similar rally was also held in Kuching earlier yesterday where Sarawak Women for Women Society president Margaret Bedus urged for a speedy amendment to the law to prevent rapists from getting away on technicalities.
She also urged the Attorney-General to consider charging Bunya for sexual abuse under the Child Act 2001.
"Our society is 30 years old today and the organisation was started also because of rape. We all have a responsibility to speak out and act with courage when it comes to rape.
"The Government, police and Attorney-General too have their responsibilities to support and protect victims and survivors," Margaret said.
Mum of rape victim to adopt child
The mother of the "finger rape" victim, who gave birth to a boy, will officially adopt the child, now three years old, as her own.
Sarawak Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah (pic) said yesterday: "She already treats the toddler as her own and wants to make it official."
Fatimah said the rape victim, a minor when she gave birth on Feb 5, 2012, never considered putting the baby up for adoption outside the family. (A DNA test confirmed that Bunya Jalong was the baby's father.)
Yesterday at a rally here to pressure the Government to amend the penal code's definition of rape, the victim's mother spoke about the ordeal publicly for the first time.
Fighting back tears, she revealed that 60-year-old Bunya, met the victim, who was then 14 years old, through her.
"He was my colleague (working) under me. He was just a boat operator. On Fridays, he transports school children. It was during that time he met students. He gave them food, drinks...." said the grandmother, an Iban Muslim convert from rural Oya River.
"I don't like this type of people. He is not a human being. He is an animal. His ways are like that of an animal," she told the rally.
On May 7, the Court of Appeal unanimously acquitted and discharged Bunya of raping the girl in Sibu in May, June, July and August of 2011. The court acquitted the man based on the present legal definition of sexual intercourse, which only includes penile penetration.
In his defence, Bunya claimed that he had only used his fingers on the victim and that he never penetrated her.
In the written judgment released later in May, another reason given for acquittal was the prosecution's failure to bring in witnesses to challenge a doctor's view that impregnation was possible if a finger with sperm was placed in the vagina.
The victim's mother made clear that she understood details of the judgment but felt justice had not been served for her daughter.
She believed the accused was coached on what to say in court to get himself off the hook based on the wording of the law.
"All I ask for is help from all of Malaysia, from anyone who does not want to experience what happened to my family," she said while appealing for advice on how to get justice for her daughter.
Hundreds from 29 non-governmental bodies attended the rally at Kuching's Friendship Park.
A petition has been launched at change.org/p/government-of-malay sia-datuk-seri-najib-tun-razak-henti kan-rogol-stop-raping-our-children.