MMA urges compassion for teen

PETALING JAYA: There is continued focus by concerned groups on the well-being of the 15-year-old girl who was charged at a Magistrate’s Court in Terengganu with the murder of her newborn child.

“What horrors and stresses must have accompanied the young girl throughout her pregnancy which caused her to commit infanticide upon her child’s birth?” asked Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Koh Kar Chai.

Koh added that the young girl herself was the victim of a crime nine months ago.

“If the young girl was already depressed during her unwanted pregnancy, the risk of developing postpartum depression is definitely higher.

“We have also seen cases where the rapist is usually allowed free due to a lack of evidence or because no report was made due to social stigma.

“This then ends up with the female who survived the rape facing all this on her own,” he said.

He said that survivors of sexual violence may also experience mental, behavioural and social consequences.

“Female victims also have to bear the brunt of reproductive consequences in addition to the trauma of sexual assault and the possibility of contracting sexually transmitted disease.

“They may also suffer gynaecological trauma or unsafe abortions along with mental health issues including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress,” he said.

This, he added, may result in survivors beginning to exhibit high risk behaviours with fatal outcomes such as suicide, murder during rape or even infanticide of a child born through rape.

The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said that juveniles facing legal conflicts need to be subject to existing laws and legislation such as the Child Act 2001 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The ministry said it took immediate action by providing appropriate intervention using a psychosocial approach for the welfare of the teen.

“Throughout the minor’s time in police custody in the lockup or hospital, the district social welfare office made visits and channelled appropriate assistance including psychological services,” it said, as reported by Bernama.

“The mother of the teen has also been given counselling and early intervention to ensure the emotional stability of the family facing this challenging situation,” it added.

On Sunday, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) children’s commissioner Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said the girl needed to get the necessary legal aid and healthcare from the authorities.

On Feb 8, Kemaman police chief Supt Hanyan Ramlan said a newborn was found dead, believed to have been stabbed by his own mother.

Supt Hanyan said police had also identified the man believed to have raped the 15-year-old.

The girl was investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, while the man is being sought for investigation under Section 376 of the Penal Code for rape.

On Tuesday, the teenage girl was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code at the magistrate’s court in Kemaman with killing her newborn boy at a house in Seri Bandi here, between 7am and 9am, on Feb 8.

Magistrate Tengku Eliana Tuan Kamaruzaman did not allow the girl bail and fixed March 16 for mention.

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