The advertising industry's use of younger models in sexy poses has been blamed for an increase in the number of girls under 16 filing complaints they have been raped. Statistics released by the police show that between 1991 and last year, at the same time as the number of reported rape cases increased by 57 per cent, the proportion of victims under 16 increased from 55 per cent to 67 per cent. Mary Assunta, a media analyst with a consumers' body that conducts national studies, said there was an increase in the use of 'very young models' in adverts. 'These young women are in poses that speak of sex,' she said. 'That sends out a particular message.' Women's magazines had to share the blame for making sex 'frivolous and commonplace', she said. Sociologist Rohana Ariffin said the apparent increase in young rape victims could be due to a change in the rape laws in 1989, which raised the age of consent from 14 to 16. But she also believed the portrayal of women in the media was a contributing factor to the number of young women raped. The police figures also showed that 48 per cent of reported rape cases were committed by boyfriends or dates, while 20 per cent were committed by a family member or relative. Mano Hary Subramaniam, a rape counsellor for the All Women's Action Society, said she believed the incidence of rape in the family was higher than the number of reported cases. 'Many incest-rape cases go unreported,' she said. 'The girls are often told to stay quiet at the risk of bringing dishonour to their family, and are often blamed for being the stereotypical youngster with no morals,' she said. With figures for 1997 running higher than 1996, when the total was 1,071, police say three rapes are now being reported every day. But women's groups say this is only a fraction of the total number of rapes that is occurring daily. They are demanding greater efforts to ensure that police and other officials treat rape victims with more sensitivity. 'The attitude of police has always been that only bad girls get raped,' Ms Subramaniam said.