Children neither know what they do nor the consequences of their actions. Alternatively, children are not expected to know what they do or its consequences. At some time in the future, however, they are expected to know and the law expects them to know by 16.
So, when is rape not rape? It can only be rape if the law cries rape, not the victim. So, when does the law so cry?
That will depend on what the law says and that, in turn, depends on the understanding of society on when a child can be considered matured. If society says a child is only mature upon 18 years of age, then the law will cry rape if the partner is under 18.
Spain has the lowest age of consent, at 13, and Turkey the highest, at 18. In other words, a crime in Turkey is not a crime in Spain. Therefore, what the national bowler did is not an offence in Spain but an offence in Malaysia. There can be no partners under 16, only victims. They are victims because the law says they are victims, and this makes the male partner the perpetrator. Is that fair? Fair to whom -- the bowler or victim? This will depend on which side you're on.
She followed him to a hotel. Of course, he cannot be blamed for being a great athlete and an idol -- a natural aphrodisiac. Anyone will be honoured by his acquaintance. The other side of the coin is, the man should be on guard as to whom his acquaintances are.
The 13-year-old may or may not know the consequences of her actions. Or at least the law says she does not. The real question may well be: would the girl have followed the man to a hotel had she been 16, or matured, or had known better?
If my child was the girl, then I would think that she is very young and a male who is 19 should have kept away from her. Otherwise, it would mean that he acted on purpose; knowing fairly well of her naive state and vulnerability.
So, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled to release Nor Afizal on probation in the statutory rape case, overturning the High Court's decision of five years' jail ("Court: It was consensual" -- NST, Aug 28). He was 19 and she was 13.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality is troubled that the perpetrator's potential for "a bright future", presumably derived from his status as a national athlete, was used as one of the grounds for sentencing. Following this is the decision in George Town, where the victim was 12 years and 10 months at the time of "crime" ("Electrician escapes jail sentence" -- NST, Aug 29).
According to the Court of Appeal judge, however, both made a mistake in engaging in premarital sex. No doubt, an offence was committed, but is a custodial sentence the only safeguard to ensure similar offences of consensual sex among teenagers will not happen?
Abraham Mathew, Kluang, Johor Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 31 August 2012