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Date: 08 Dec 1999
Rape cases on the rise in Malaysia: report
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 (AFP) - Rape cases in Malaysia have nearly doubled in the past five years, with more than half of the victims below the age of 16, according to a study published Wednesday.
Police recorded 1,489 rape cases last year, up from 879 in 1993, the All Women's Action Society said in statistics published in the New Straits Times newspaper.
The one-and-a-half year study by the society shattered a number of myths surrounding the crime, such as the widely held belief locally that rape occurs to women who walk alone on a dark, lonely street, the daily said.
The research found that 67 percent of rape cases took place either at home or in a building and in 84 percent of the cases, the attackers were either friends or family members.
Only 20 percent of cases occured in isolated areas, bushes or estates while strangers were the perpetrators in just 16 percent of the cases.
"There is an average of 4.1 percent rape cases every day," society president Maria Chin Abdullah was quoted as saying. "If we are to consider unreported cases, then it can be said that one woman is raped every 1.7 hours in Malaysia."
The study showed that young women were vulnerable to sexual assaults by older men, with 55.8 percent of victims below the age of 16 compared to an overwhelming 98 percent of rapists above that age.
Four out of five reported rape cases never made it to court. Of those that do, only half of the suspects were convicted -- which meant that only one in 10 reported cases end with successful conviction of the rapists.
The study was based on 417 court files from the capitals of seven states and Kuala Lumpur, the newspaper added.