THEY chatted online for two months before deciding to meet, and Joe (not his real name) came off as a nice guy.
But in reality, he was far from a gentleman – after having a drink with him on their third date, Valerie (not her real name), 21, woke up naked in an unfamiliar place.
She would later find out that she had been raped that night.
“Joe was in the room and said we were in his friend’s house.
“I can’t remember what happened but he said he will take care of me and sent me home, ” says the university student.
They continued to talk every day but after one month, Joe stopped calling her and his number went out of service.
A few months later, Valerie put on some weight and felt something was amiss.
After she felt a stomach pain, she went to the clinic and the doctor told her she was pregnant and had signs of contractions.
“I was traumatised and cried. My mother was very angry.
“I couldn’t tell her what happened because I was scared. I couldn’t tell my friends either.
“I felt panicked and lost. I Googled a place for help and found OrphanCare, which operates a shelter and baby hatches, ” says Valerie, who gave birth to a baby boy.
She talked to her father and they decided they couldn’t take care of the baby.
“I also have to finish my studies and I don’t want to remember what happened to me, ” Valerie says.
She decided to give the baby up for adoption.
“I made the right choice as the baby will have a better life.
“I just want others to know that I’m not a bad person. I hardly go out. I study well.
“I didn’t even know I had sex.
“It’s not easy to forget what happened but now, my mother is OK with me and with my family support, I feel better, ” Valerie says, adding that she has met her baby’s adoptive family.
As for her message to the public, she urges society to help and guide those who are in similar situations and try not to judge them.
“Don’t leave them alone. They need help and guidance, ” she says.
In another case, Ramona (not her real name), 23, received help from OrphanCare when she had an unplanned pregnancy with her boyfriend.
She was offered work in Kuala Lumpur while her boyfriend was in her hometown in Muar, Johor.
“I transferred to Kuala Lumpur without knowing that I was pregnant.
“I only realised I was seven months pregnant when I felt something was different with my body.
“But by then I had broken up with my boyfriend. I panicked and did not inform anyone, including him because we had split up, ” she says.
Ramona then went through the pregnancy alone and gave birth alone to a baby boy in her rented room as she didn’t have enough money and was scared to get help.
“Coincidently, my housemate was not there. It was at about 10pm.
“I found some information earlier on what to do with an unwanted pregnancy.
“I went to OrphanCare at dawn and they helped me to settle down, ” she shares.
Ramona says she didn’t want anyone to find out about the baby and just wanted to surrender him so he will have a better life.
“I’m very sad but I need to bury that sadness deep down at the bottom of my heart and move on.
“I met my baby’s adoptive parent once and I know that my baby is in good hands. He will have a much better life that I can offer him, ” she says.
Ramona hopes that if there are others out there like her, they will find the right help.
“Don’t risk your life or the baby’s life just because you think that you are alone.
“I am grateful to be given a second chance.
“Deep down, I will always think about my baby.
“But I can only settle for the fact that I did my best at that point of time.
“It is much better than abandoning him somewhere unsafe, ” she says.