Ridhuan, if this happens to your little girl would you fault her body for rape?

― Zhu Mohammad
The Malay Mail Online
February 27

FEBRUARY 27 ― Su-Lyn, I read your column and am outraged by Ridhuan Tee’s comment that a woman’s body on its own is an invitation to rape. I feel compelled to tell my story; like you, I didn’t manage to report it to the police because it happened when I was 12 years old.

Like a lot of kids at that age who are attached to their grandparents, I was to my grandfather on my father’s side, who I think at that time was about 67 or so.

I was sort of his favourite grandchild, and I enjoyed his attention. We used to sleep together, with my other siblings too.

One thing that he used to do when i was laying down next to him was that he would fondle my intimate areas. But I didn’t understand any of it, and didn’t resist.

It was this particular night, when I was awakened as he was forcing himself on me. I froze, and let the whole thing go on until he was finished. I don’t know whether he was aware that I was awake at that time, because soon after he went to sleep.

I got up and went to the next room, and cried the whole night. I remembered feeling dirty, at one point I took a shower, and in an attempt to cleanse myself, I proceeded to read the Quran. It didn’t help, because I kept feeling dirty for the next 10 years.

We acted like nothing happened, but I stayed away from him. I didn’t tell my parents because I was scared as my grandfather lived with us, and he presented himself as a pious Muslim.

It occurred to me that my parents would not believe me. I became very aware of my surroundings after that, as I often do not feel safe.

There is another thing that I cannot forgive myself. I witnessed my grandfather fondling my sisters while they were sleeping. I don’t know until today, why I didn’t scream.

He passed away two years after that due to pancreatic cancer, I didn’t shed a single tear. I was glad he was finally gone and stopped touching me and my sisters. Relatives were puzzled as to why I was not sad over his death, because they didn’t know that his appearance as a harmless old man who was very particular with his solat routines was a monster to his own grandchildren.

I could only tell my parents about this 16 years after it happened; my mother was outraged and told my father she will never forgive my grandfather for assaulting me ― something I wished I knew when I was 12, that she would have my back no matter what happens.

To Ridhuan Tee: I was 12 when my grandfather raped me, a family member who is supposed to love me and enrich my childhood. I was wearing a T-shirt and long pants that night, but he raped me anyway. He betrayed my trust and my love that any grandchild had for their grandparents.

I was a child who couldn’t make out what happened to me ― how am I to be blamed for making my child-girl body an invitation to rape by a family member? Have you no decency at all? So I know exactly what it means when clothes on a woman’s body is not the thing that gets them raped, but predators like my grandfather who prey on the weak, even if those people are his flesh and blood.

Please shut up, Ridhuan. You are an insult to the struggle I’ve been through for the past 22 years in trying to clean myself of people who are not worthy to live amongst civilised people.

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