Wednesday, January 2, 2013

to condemn... but who to condemn?

I've been reading with interest the story of a 13 year old wannabe rapist that has been flooding my Facebook feed recently. As the story goes, a 13 year old boy attempted to rape a woman at a petrol kiosk toilet but was foiled by nearby people who came to help after hearing the screams of the victim. Apparently, the victim  (I presume, judging by how the story was worded), for reasons I do not know, thought that it would be a good idea to share the story online. 

The story, together with the picture of the boy, is now going viral across Malaysia's internet scene, with tons of people discussing about it and even more condemning it. What better way to start off your new year than with another piece of news that highlights how screwed up our society is?


the picture that was widely shared on social media mediums, together with the supposedly story from the victim.


Like usual, netizens were quick to pick up their stone and throw it. Some condemned the boy, calling him all sorts of names, even resolving to shame him publicly by posting a uncensored picture of him online. Others condemned his parents, some lamented about the police and the rest blamed the society today. While I understand the reason behind a lot of our anger, after all, acts like this are supposed to be done only by adults and not kids, I do not agree with the way how we are resorting to public shaming of the boy, like how we do with Zoe Raymond or Michael Palmer in Singapore.

His actions are wrong, without doubt, but I think resorting to such tactic is too extreme to punish a 13 year old kid like. After all, according to the law, he is by definition a juvenile offender and the identity juvenile offenders are protected by the law if I'm not mistaken. By posting a complete picture of him online, you are only adding oil to the fire as it has the possibility of destroying his life as his face is now forever imprinted online as a rapist. 

I mean the possibility exists that he might want to change in the future but in the internet, everything is in permanent ink and imagine him being denied opportunities in the future to start anew just because of the victim was feeling angry and perhaps vengeful against the boy. Not to mention that with the picture going viral, it would be harder for the boy to walk the streets in the future and to put it bluntly, we are indirectly pushing him towards a wall.

Of course, I'm not saying that we should let the boy off but I just think that there's too much anger being directed at the wrong place, which is the boy himself. Besides, I'm never a a believer in punishing kids and at 13 years old, I do not believe he is in full capacity to think of the consequences of his actions and what not. After all, age 13 was the age where we are most prone to making mistakes, exploring the world and such, and sadly, this 13 year old boy chose the wrong place to commit a mistake. But he shouldn't be subjected to this kind of wrath of the internet.

In addition to that, juvenile sex offenders are not new features of our society. They have been highlighted as a problem in numerous researches and articles only that this time, social media got a hold of it, which explains the extra amount of attention that was paid to it. But like I said, piling everything on the kid, or wanting to get back at him, is not the best solution to this problem.

I blame the society though, for losing it's values a long time ago. Sex is now glorified as an achievement among guys now, with everyone eager to get laid as much as they can and with evergreen guys being looked down upon. Having sex is like a status symbol among guys and everywhere we see, there's sex everywhere. The TV, movies and even online. And don't even get me started on the availability of porn nowadays.

Of course, I also blame the parents too but I'm too lazy to go into details.You get the gist. My point being that if you want to get angry, please direct it somewhere else other than the boy.


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