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Celebrate sex, not sexual criminals

Published in Malay Mail Online

What is it about us Malaysians that some find it so hard to unconditionally condemn paedophilia?

Here we have one of our own, Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, who not only possessed 30,000 images and videos of child porn but was actively involved in sharing and making them in the UK. Among those were over 600 that were termed extreme child porn that explicitly showed the rape of children.

Yet, we have among us people like MARA council member and Umno man Nazir Hussin, who compared the crime to nothing more than kids skipping classes, defending Nur Fitri as a potential “national asset.”

Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal even offered the services of his ministry to appeal Nur Fitri’s sentence. MARA chairman Annuar Musa admitted that the agency is still providing aid to Nur Fitri on humanitarian grounds, and still considers him as its scholar despite freezing his funds.

It took our prime minister one week to come out with a statement unequivocally denying Nur Fitri a second chance, and that only after he was pre-empted by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.

It is undeniable that anybody, even a criminal, must be afforded a second chance in life. But as many have commented, the second chance must be earned and not offered on a silver platter.

Most certainly, that offer must not come from the Malaysian government, which has surely now been painted as a paedophilia sympathiser.

At this point, the Malaysian government seems to sympathise with abusive criminals.

It was not that long ago that authorities defended a sexual offender by sheltering a junior diplomat wanted for sexually assaulting a New Zealand national there. Muhammad Rizalman Ismail was charged in May 2014 but managed to escape through diplomatic immunity. It was only in late October that he was sent back, awaiting his trial in November this year.

Similarly, Malaysian authorities gave the red carpet treatment to the Malaysian couple charged with child abuse in Sweden last year. Their return was not only celebrated, but they managed to keep their jobs in Tourism Malaysia and all-girls boarding school Sekolah Seri Puteri.

In 2012, a national bowler was even let off with a RM25,000 bond instead of being jailed for raping a minor, simply because his lawyer argued that he had a “bright future” ahead of him.

In Nur Fitri’s case, some argued that there is nothing wrong with consuming child porn, or at least not as wrong as raping a child. These people conveniently forgot that for child porn to happen, children have to be involved in the first place.

On the other extreme, there are those claiming that viewers of conventional porn are no more a saint than child porn viewers. Such statements baffle me just as much as they chill me to my bones.

Is the concept of consent that foreign to us?

We have such a warped perspective on sex, that starting a sexual offender registry right now would turn our society upside down.

The view that sex is permissible as long as it involves the bond of marriage, as opposed to consent, seems prevalent.

Which is why the notion of marital rape is seen as absurd and impossible, while so few bat their eyes at child marriages to the point of encouraging and celebrating them.

Those who frown at teens having consensual sex, are probably the same ones who are raring to take schoolgirls as their wives. And they totally can.

While the age of consent is set at 16, taking a child bride as young as nine within the Malay community involves nothing more than the permission of the Shariah Court.

The 2010 population census revealed that as many as 80,000 married women were between the ages of 15 and 19, while there were only 70,000 married men at the same age.

Just in March, a photo of a 52-year-old man who took an 18-year-old as his second wife went viral, with some congratulating the newlyweds. The man was reportedly a teacher who courted the girl, who happened to be his daughter’s good friend.

In comparison, consensual sex, no matter how harmonious the relationship, faces so much stigma. Some in the public are less bothered by an adult forcing sex on a child, as compared to consenting couples of the same sex or those out of wedlock.

Even our sex lives are guided by something so archaic that consensual oral and anal sex are still considered crimes under the Penal Code in this day and age!

We still blame women for sexual crimes. We laugh when men claim they are raped.

We think abstinence will solve unwanted pregnancies. We dream that religion in sex education will actually work.

We pretend that sex is something only a father and a mother do to make babies. Under the sheets. In their bedroom. At night.

There was no conspiracy. Nur Fitri made his choice in life and pleaded guilty to his charges. We ought to not ostracise and discriminate against him after he has served his sentence, and he certainly does not deserve capital punishment. Nobody does.

We can try to understand paedophilia to facilitate his life and let him live with dignity. In fact, this has opened the chance for the public to learn more about the disorder.

We need to celebrate sex at least a little bit more, and stop glorifying criminals just because they come from a privileged background.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/zurairi-ar/article/celebrate-sex-not-sexual-criminals#sthash.4tLP3jxm.dpuf

Published inMMO column
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