KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian police have arrested at least 13 people – many of who are related – over the alleged gang-rape of a 15-year-old girl, reports said on Friday.
The girl was raped on May 20 for hours by a group of men in an abandoned hut in the northern state of Kelantan, local media reports said. Police are still investigating whether her 17-year-old friend was also raped and how many men were involved in the assault after initial reports stated almost 40 took turns in the gang-rape, The Star daily said.
All those detained are from the same village, where the assault took place, and many are related, it reported. Those arrested include one man and his two sons. The men are believed to have been high on drugs, and the girls were lured to the hut. A police official when contacted declined to comment, while others could not immediately be reached.
Suri Kempe, an official with women's rights group Sisters in Islam, said the frequent number of rape cases being reported was extremely worrying. “Boys are being raised in a culture where being masculine means being aggressive, and that it's perfectly acceptable to use violence to get what you want,” she said in a statement.
Almost 3,000 rape cases were reported in 2012 in the Southeast Asian country of 28 million people, according to police statistics, with many of the victims aged 16 and below. But activists say many more cases go unreported due to a continuing stigma for rape victims in the Muslim-majority country.