LAST November, a 50-year-old lorry driver from Johor, who had sexually assaulted his daughter for four years since she was 1, was sentenced to 81 years’ jail and eight strokes of the rotan.

The victim’s uncle also pleaded guilty to molesting her and was jailed five years.

On Aug 15, a mechanic from Kuala Lumpur was sentenced to 26 years’ jail and six strokes of the rotan for committing incest with his 14-year-old stepdaughter.

On Aug 25, a farmer and his three sons from Sabah were sentenced to a total of 105 years in jail after they pleaded guilty to 13 counts of committing incest with two sisters.

On Aug 16 in Kuala Lumpur, a 44-year-old security guard and his son raped his 10-year-old daughter, who is also his son’s sibling, five years ago.

Even a 72-year-old grandfather, together with his son, 40, and three relatives, aged between 16 and 21, were charged with raping his granddaughter in Limbang, Sarawak.

It is so sad that this happens in families.

They are supposed to be a safe haven, but very often, it’s the place where we find the most problems.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said that were more than 20,000 sexual abuse cases since 2010.

A total of 22,234 sexual abuse cases were reported from 2010 to May last year, with 13,272 being rape cases.

Other sexual abuse cases included incest (1,796 cases), unnatural sex (1,152 cases) and molestation (6,014 cases).

Even with the under-reporting of cases, a 2016 study cites the incidence of father-daughter incest at 23.1 per cent, stepfather-daughter incest, 23 per cent; brother-sister incest, 12 per cent; cousin incest, 7.25 per cent; brother-in-law incest, 5.3 per cent; daughter-grandfather incest, 1.6 per cent; and daughter-stepgrandfather incest, 1 per cent.

It is believed that incest is one of the most under-reported crimes due to the intense level of shame associated with this type of sexual abuse, especially when the perpetrators are fathers or brothers.

Incest is an offence under section 376A of the Penal Code, which is defined as sexual intercourse with someone they are not allowed to marry due to law, religion and custom.

Those found guilty of committing incest may serve 30 years in jail and receive no fewer than 10 strokes of the rotan.

Rape, on the other hand, is a crime under section 375 of the Penal Code where a man forces sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent, against her will or if she consented out of fear for her life.

The effects of incest will vary with each survivor. For example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) is experienced by victims who are children.

PSTD is a mental and physical health problem that includes stress, flashbacks, anxiety, nightmares, depression and other behavioural indicators.

The other problems in-
clude drug abuse, alcoholic, suicidal behaviour and family problems.

Victims repeatedly attempt to run away from home.

This is a sad situation for Malaysia, as we pride ourselves on having strong ethics.

Let us combat this evil to help victims.

Datuk Akhbar Satar , Institute of Crime & Criminology, HELP University-NST

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