Date rape: Only 10 percent of rapes are reported

Date rape: Only 10 percent of rapes are reported

PETALING JAYA - Lack of awareness about rape and the stigma attached to the issue are the primary reasons why many victims do not come forward to report incidents.

According to the Womens Aid Organisation (WAO), for every one rape that is reported, nine go unreported and this is mostly because we live in a society that blames the victim when such occurrences takes place.

WAO was contacted by a total of 34 people seeking help to overcome the trauma of rape in 2013 alone.

A detailed report showed that most of the victims approached the organisation via phone and only 10 of them met the counselors in person.

WAO executive director, Ivy Josiah said that unlike many other countries, people in Malaysia are afraid to talk about rape because of the stigma that revolves around it.

"In the west, their rape hotlines are busy throughout the day, but here, despite the crime occurring often, victims do not come forward because we lack awareness on the issue and many often doubt if they will be protected after.

" Even when they do come forward to talk about it, it is often with cold rage, two or three years after they experience the attack," she said when contacted by The Star Online.

Ivy added that the victims who approach the organisation after many years are still badly traumatised emotionally.

"If you look at our records, more people are willing to come forward and talk about domestic violence, simply because those victims generate a lot more sympathy and often have someone telling them not to worry."

"Rape victims who seek for help on the other hand, go through a 'second rape' where they are often asked questions like 'what were you doing with him?', 'why were you there at that time?', 'why did you wear something like that?', and hence most victims prefer to just suffer in silence.

She stressed that it was sad the perpetrators were often left unquestioned, in turn leaving the victims to turn to self blame.

"When you have a society that suggests that it is your fault you were raped, victims no longer have a conducive environment in which to seek support.

"Worse still, unless a victim is bleeding or battered, the police often doubt their statements, disregarding the fact that some women do not fight back in fear of their lives," she said adding that 80 per cent of the victims who approach the organisation were raped by someone they knew, and were often ashamed that they had not foreseen such an attack.

Ivy added that in addition to increasing awareness of rape in the Malaysian society, specification of rape is also important. "People need to know what rape is and what are their rights in terms of protecting their bodies.

"They need to understand that though the law states rape is penetration of the penis, exploitation of compromising photos of a women to reduce her and control her sexuality is also a form of emotional rape," she said.

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