Author: Mariam Zamri
Editor: Ziera Adurah
The severeness of pedophilia in our country is undeniably critical. Lately, the phenomenon of sexual assault cases among children is increasing at an alarming rate and one of them being an Ipoh orphanage worker who has been detained for allegedly molesting two brothers. It is possible that psychological or mental disorders are leading as the principal disease in Malaysia, surpassing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. Pedophilia is one of the chronic mental disorders that must be eradicated because it is a heinous crime.
Dean of the School of Human Development and Technology (IKOM), University Malaysia Perlis, Associate Professor Dr Huzili Hussin define pedophilia as a sexual disorder that causes its patients to have persistent sexual attraction towards children, generally aged 13 or younger. He added that an individual must be at least 16 years old and 5 years apart from a child to be considered a pedophile. Although that person may have sexual thoughts for children without ever touching them, he or she is still considered a pedophile.
Shocking statistics in Malaysia
Recently, it has come to light that the number of pedophilic cases has been increasing during MCO in 2020, which had involved over 1065 cases recorded. Chief Assistant Director, Sexual Investigation, Women and Children Division (D11) Bukit Aman Assistant Commissioner Siti Kamsiah Hassan said, cases of physical sexual harassment in children over the past year (2020) was 993 cases, which showed an increase compared to 732 cases in 2019 and 591 cases in 2018. Meanwhile, cases of non-physical sexual harassment increased to 51 cases last year (2020) compared to 13 cases in 2019 and 18 cases in 2018. Furthermore, what is more concerning is 70% of sexual offenders in Malaysia were involved in child pornography cases. She added that the police have made 25 arrests involving child pornography over the past year (2020) compared to six cases in 2019 and five cases in 2018. Cases that were reported involving child pornography also increased immensely in 2020 to 41 cases compared to six cases in 2019 and seven cases in 2018.
Unexpected facts about pedophilia
According to the U.S Department of Justice, 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way, whether they are a relative or a family’s friend. It is also estimated that lower than 5% among the male population could potentially have pedophilic tendencies, and as for women, less than 3%. Imagine out of 100 men, there are about three to five men who could potentially be a pedophile! This huge number is worrisome.
In Malaysia, Perlis Police Chief, Datuk Surina Saad said, there is no complete data on pedophilia cases, but the crime of sexual abuse against children always occurs from time to time. In my opinion, the worst case of pedophilia that has happened in this country is the case of Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, who was charged and convicted for producing and possessing over 30,000 of images and video depicting penetrative sex with minors in London, United Kingdom in 2015. When arrested by the police, the MARA Mathematics scholar possessed 601 category A pornographic videos and images, which involved penetrative sexual activity, sexual activity with an animal, or sadism, as well as hundreds of category B (non-penetrative sexual activity) and C (indecent images) pornographic materials. British police then had said that the files he had kept were the “most extreme material” they had come across. He was extradited to Malaysia after serving a jail sentence that was reduced from 18 months to nine.
I remember this case very well as it caused an outrage in social media, with questions raised as to how a genius scholar was able to commit such a crime overseas and put Malaysians to shame. To me, it is baffling how he was not even on our sexual offenders list, just because the list of sex offenders was compiled in 2017 and that the Sexual Offences Against Children (SOAC) Act 2017 only came into force in July that year.
The question here is, do pedophiles deserve a second chance?
Perhaps, some may argue that pedophilia is a mental illness and may use it as an excuse for the reformation of offenders and giving offenders second chances. However, as someone who has a niece and a lot of younger relatives, I am not willing to take the chance to forgive such a disgusting offence from such a disturbed individual.
Protect children from pedophiles
The responsibility of protecting children lies on the parents because they are the closest to children who have lifetime obligations towards children’s development, protection, privacy, security, and growth. Therefore, parents are advised to not upload pictures of their children on social media, especially when they are bathing or playing, to avoid being targeted by pedophiles. Moreover, parents should never post the location of their children on social media.
As a society, we must also train children to not allow anyone to touch their genitals. Pay attention if children do not feel comfortable or afraid of being close to someone. We must also forbid children, especially those aged 13 and under to go anywhere alone without the supervision of an adult. Lastly, teach children to not get used to sitting on anyone’s lap, let alone a man’s lap.
These things must be taken seriously because remember, carelessness means an opportunity for these ‘silent monsters’ to satisfy their sexual desires towards children.