The reasoning by the judges in the cases involving two girls, aged 12 and 13, that they had consensual sex is puzzling. Are children of this age capable of understanding the consequences of having sex?
Minds can be manipulated in more than one way, for example, through promises, threats, physical harm and creating fear of the unknown. All the sweet promises can turn out to be otherwise after what is desired by the perpetrator has been achieved.
All the threats could be false, but they can incite enough fear to make them do the bidding of the persons making the threats.
Beating and other physical acts can cause actual bodily harm and make people submit to a perpetrator's demands.
The issue is not consent per say. It is the circumstances under which "consent" is obtained and the intention of those who obtain such "consent" that matters.
Agreeing to have sex is a contract between two persons. It is no different than other contracts. When one party in a contract is in a stronger position than the other, the contract and the circumstances under which it was entered into must be examined with a very fine comb to see the fairness in it.
In the two recent rape cases, the girls are so young. The law has, for a long time, recognised that minors are not capable of understanding the consequences or implications of many things and, hence, need to be protected.
Nowadays, even 12-year-old children ride motorcycles, albeit illegally. So, would it be fine for them to sign hire-purchase agreements to buy motorcycles?
Is it possible to brainwash minors, with no physical violence, to get their consent despite them not understanding the consequences of what they were sweet-talked into?
What about the intention of rapists? Do they not have the intention to have sex with young girls and to use whatever means possible to get their so-called "consent"? Is such intention not criminal as it is to perpetrate statutory rape?
Statutory rape is statutory rape and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be converted into consensual sex when the person is below 18. We might as well allow those below 18 to vote.
Courts are wrong to think that their duty is done after making their decisions. The far-reaching implication of court decisions is that they educate the people about complying with laws.
A "promising future" has been introduced by the courts as an escape route for criminally-minded young men out to take advantage of young girls.
Courts are also said to make "judge-made laws" through their judgments. So, does this mean that a new law has been made allowing rape of young teens as long as you do not assault or batter them?
Where is our justice system heading?
Ravinder Singh, Penang Source: News Straits Times Letters to the Editors 31 August 2012