The recently released country report on Human Rights by the United States revealed that Malaysia saw a massive 28, 741 rape cases between 2005 and 2014.
These figures, the report said were according to women’s groups, indicates on average 10 women in the country were raped each day and more than half of these women were younger than 16 years.
This was covered under the Section 6, dealing with ‘Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons and Women.
According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Home Affairs, only 16 percent (4,514 cases) of the rape cases were taken to court and 2.7 percent (765 cases) with guilty verdicts.
Police statistics, in 2014 showed there were 4,807 reported cases of domestic violence, 2,045 cases of rape, and 1,590 cases of sexual harassment.
Rape, including marital rape, is a criminal offense, as are most forms of domestic violence in Malaysia.
Rape is punishable by a maximum 20 years’ imprisonment and caning while marital rape does not have a minimum penalty, but the maximum penalty is five years’ imprisonment.
“Cultural attitudes and a reported lack of sympathy from the largely male police force resulted in many victims not reporting rapes,” said the report.
Many government hospitals had crisis centers where victims of rape and domestic abuse could make reports without going to a police station.
NGOs and political parties also cooperated to provide counseling for rape victims.
Women’s groups asserted the courts were inconsistent in punishing rapists.
Although the government, NGOs, and political parties maintained shelters and offered other assistance to battered spouses, activists asserted that support mechanisms for victims of domestic violence remained inadequate.
There is a sexual investigations unit at each police headquarters to help victims of sexual crimes and abuse.
Moreover police sometimes assign psychologists or counselors to provide emotional support.
Women’s rights activists reported that police needed additional training in handling domestic abuse and rape cases.
Reports of rape and spousal abuse drew considerable government, NGO, and press attention.