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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quit focusing on who’s to blame- Nasrul Seremban (IN letters to the editor, theSTAR

I REFER to the report “Another sexist remark: Two Penang reps make an issue of women’s dressing” (The Star, May 23).

Though the previous comments made in Parliament were what I consider
unfortunate, and a display of gender insensitivity, the current issue
is slightly different. 

Nevertheless, the remark and the subsequent protest just extend the debate over who’s to blame for sexual crimes. 

The typical egocentric-male-chauvinist group argues that rapists are tempted by women’s provocative dressing style. 

At the other extreme, your typical woman-rights-activists corner rebuts
such claims by pointing out that rape victims are not exclusive to the
scantily dressed, and blames men’s mentality and perspective towards
the opposite gender. 

I have no intention of taking sides in such a debate. I am more
concerned about addressing the issue, identifying root causes,
improving our social fabric and increasing access to education, instead
of focusing on the blame game. 

Despite taking a three-credit-hour Intro to Psychology during my
university days, and being a father to three beautiful daughters, I am
not an authority on this issue. Anyhow, this is my two sen worth on the
matter as a concerned father and a citizen of Malaysia. 

·Gender debate and the blaming game will not solve the issue, it will
simply keep us occupied on the debate instead of combating sex crimes.

·Sex crimes are seldom about gender or sex. It’s about the socially
challenged and sick characters seeking ways to feel superior and to
feel validated as an autonomic individual. 

·Rape and other sexual violations committed on the weak, and children,
are motivated mostly by the freak instinct to overpower others through
physical and psychological violence, not to seek sexual gratification. 

·Overly lewd, indecent, or impolite dressing choices at inappropriate
times and places may trigger a psychologically impaired person. It may
not be the root cost, but it can trigger a person who already has
issues, to act on an unhealthy impulse. 

It may not be immediately acted upon, but the aggressor would probably
then act on the impulse at the soonest opportunity available. A
sick-minded serial rapist or paedophile may be triggered by something
he saw in a crowded shopping mall, but act days later at a deserted car
park or neighbourhood. 

One example is a smoker who is trying to quit by going cold turkey. You
can tell everyone not to smoke in front of him, but the mere mention of
smoking, or any visual or audio material that reminds him of smoking
will trigger that instinct to light up, if not immediately, when no one
is looking. 

But the trigger is not the cause of this action; it’s the addiction and the nicotine. 

·“Improper dressing” is a subjective issue that can be debated forever without resolutions. 

·Dress code is at best the less significant of factors in this matter
(if not the least), as there are always triggers available in many
forms to provide excuses for some people to act upon unnatural
motivations, from the real to the imagined. We can force everyone to
wear a jilbab but a serial rapist would always be able to fantasise. 

·A good place to start with in combating sex crimes is by looking at
family institutions, social composites and disparities, education
(structured academic and social skills), and psychological health of
the general population. Safety and security concerns should not be
taken lightly. 

·What is certain is that instead of focusing on who is to be blamed –
sexy women or unfulfilled low self-esteem men – we should stress more
on mutual respect between genders and within our family institutions. 

A man who loves his mother, sisters, daughters and wife, and is able to
apply the golden rule of do unto others as you would others do unto you
is less likely to consider hurting another person. 



Seremban. Negri Sembilan.

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