Baggy clothes didn’t stop my rapist, victim tells Ridhuan Tee

The Malay Mail Online
February 24, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Baggy jeans and a loose T-shirt did not prevent her sexual assault in 2001, rape survivor Rosheen Fatima told controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah who claimed that women’s bodies attract rapists.

In an article titled “My body is not an invitation” published on the website of women’s magazine Elle Malaysia, Rosheen insisted that there is no justification for rape and said Tee was merely engaging in victim-blaming.

“Shame on you, Ridhuan Tee. Put the blame where it belongs. There is only one thing that causes rape: rapists,” Rosheen said.

“Rapists make a choice to rape. There is no invitation, no fate that intervenes. It is a choice to rape. A choice to brutally assault and traumatise a fellow human being. There is no justification. Ever,” she added.

Tee wrote in a February 16 article in Malay-language daily Sinar Harian that women were motivating men to commit rape by “exposing and flaunting” their bodies, sparking outrage from women’s groups who said sexual assault is not linked to one’s clothing.

The lecturer at the Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin’s Research Institute for Islamic Products and Civilisation also said it is “fate” if a woman who covers her “aurat” is raped.

“Aurat” in Malay refers to “intimate body parts” that Muslims must cover with clothing; exposing these is considered sinful.

Rosheen said she was raped by strangers in 2001 – one of 1,386 reported cases – and pointed out that rape cases have increased since, with 2,998 rapes reported in the country in 2012, citing statistics from women’s group Women’s Aid Organisation.

“These figures show that rape culture exists. And misogynistic comments like Ridhuan Tee’s that attempt to justify rape are only adding to the problem,” she said.

Rosheen also criticised the comments on Tee’s article that justified rape culture and twisted Islam, singling out a commenter who wrote: “This statement is okay. What’s the problem? There is no issue of insulting women, or insulting other religions. It is clear that his comments are telling us to follow the religion’s laws that’s all”.

Rosheen described rape culture as an indifferent society in which rape is normalised and where victims are blamed.

“It is rape culture that forces survivors to be silent. To not come forward. To be ashamed of something that is not their fault,” she said, noting that only one out of 10 rapes is reported.

Rosheen said she was not ashamed of what happened to her.

“It was not my fault. I am a woman. My body is not an invitation,” she said.

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