Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baby in the Bin, and Murder

The courtroom seemed divided. To one side were a number of young people, most of them nervously biting their fingers as the judge was quietly deliberating the situation. On another side, several old religious looking men sat, looking smugly at each other. It was the first ever case of it's kind to be tried in court.

The judge got up and addressed the courtroom. "The defendant is found guilty"

The defendant looked up, and then stood, albeit unsteadily, overwrought with emotion. She thought to herself, "I'm going to die because the people who knew better, the people who were supposed to guide me, pretended that sex didn't exist"

Two weeks later, early in the morning, she was ushered out, and prepared for her impending hanging. As her head was covered with the thick, black, heavy cloth in the silence, it occurred to her that she and her baby were the cats that curiosity killed.

6 Months Ago

She certainly didn't expect it to be so wrinkled, red and ugly. It made a small sound as it tried to make itself more comfortable in the white blanket it was wrapped in. She closed her eyes, brushed her lips carefully against it's forehead and wrapped the white blanket even tighter around it.

"It's now or never" she thought, holding back tears. The baby in the blanket was after all her baby, born just over 6 hours ago, with the help of her closest friend, wikipedia and a very frantic boyfriend who fainted after hearing her screams of pain. She gathered the baby and her things and walked carefully out of the school hallway. No one knew what had happened, it being a Sunday. Her secret was safe.

She had picked the decorative fruit basket from the teacher's lounge area, put in several blankets and she now carried the poor, red, ugly thing in it. She had targeted a house two streets away from the school, hoping they'd take her baby and give it a proper life, one that she could never give, considering who she was and what she was doing now.

She could have gone to her parents, but they would have turned her out for bringing shame to the family. Good kids didn't go and have babies without being married first was their school of thought. The education system would have kicked her out of school, religious creeps would have labelled her a sinner. Really, she had nowhere to turn to, except for her close friend and the guy who got her pregnant, but they were as helpless as her. And so, they decided that she'd have the baby in secret, place it in front of #37, ring the doorbell and run. She said she needed to do it herself, and be left alone.

Alas, neither she nor her friends knew that #37 had been empty for the past few days. They were on a vacation for a week, and were surprised to find a baby, carefully wrapped up, but dead lying in a basket outside their house. They reported it to the police. Within a few weeks, with the magic of DNA testing, they had identified the mother of the baby. She was in the lab when they came and arrested her, to the horror of her classmates. She followed the cops out quietly, recalling articles in newspapers mentioning the possibility of charging parents who abandoned their babies with murder. She thought they'd never do it, but here she was, being charged for the very same thing the whole country had opposed against.



Note: The story above is a fictionalised version of the baby dumping scenario in the country. About two weeks ago, the cabinet suggested that baby dumping be tantamount to murder. While no baby deserves to die in any way whatsoever, charging the parents for murder will not possibly nip the problem in the bud. Kids in schools are not exposed to proper sex education, mostly learning things off friends (who are sometimes equally blur) Pregnant teens are removed from the school system, and are looked upon by the society as immoral and a possible bad influence, and then there's also some religious issues which I will refrain from touching because it is not my place to do so - hence their need to hide the evidence of ever having a baby. My knowledge of the courtroom scene is minimal, so I don't really know what the judge says, and neither do I know what the hangman says - I can't seem to research it online, and asking lawyer friends was just too embarrassing.

13 comments:

  1. That's horrifying. I'm opposed to the death penalty across the board - it's barbaric - but it's hard to imagine punishing a foolish mistake so harshly. Locally, "sex education" in the schools is abstinence only, because people fear teaching birth control will encourage kids to have sex. Consequently, the teen pregnancy rate is on the rise and pregnant girls are common in the schools.

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  2. The people who are suggesting this to be a death penalty punishable crime are really a shallow bunch of idiots!

    I think education on the matter (which is non existent in this country) is more important than imposing the death penalty.

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  3. Never could understood peoples obsession on severe punishments as a prevention method . Being pregnant is not the crime , throwing babies are. The young mothers should be given an option to give away babies...hope there will be an organization which is willing to take the anonymous babies

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  4. I am against the death penalty - no one has the right to pass judgement on who should die even if the person has committed a great crime.

    However, I do think that an appropriate punishment should be given to people who throw their babies into dustbins or leave them for death because they are afraid of the consequence of having gotten themselves pregnant. As Jai said, "Being pregnant is not a crime, throwing babies are.".

    Sex education is one way of preventing young girls from falling into this situation. Having said that, I think most girls at a certain age are aware that sexual intercourse is how a woman gets pregnant. After all, it is part of our syllabus in Form 3.

    There should also be help centres for young mothers/raped victims/pregnant teenagers. The government should set up a helpline for these people.

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  5. nursemyra: indeed.

    SAW: It's the abandoning of babies which has been proposed to be tried under murder... I just think it won't solve the problem

    Nick: Agreed... education is the way to go.

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  6. Jai: Actually, apparently there are options for the young mothers. (It was on the Malaysian Insider - can't find it again, though) Either they are not aware of it, or they are too shy to come forward...(for obvious reasons)

    Anita: Agreed... Education is the way. And probably changing the mindset of the community, if that's ever possible...

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  7. Even with education, there will always be young women who are caught out, so education is only one part (maybe the bigger part) of the battle. The other part is social attitudes, which at least would probably change with education too. Mistakes and accidents will always happen. Hounding the unmarried mother is damaging to both mother *and* baby. Criminalising a natural process is awful. I'm so sorry to hear this is being discussed in your country, Terra. I hope all citizens of good conscience are standing up against this.

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  8. I suppose the increasing number of cases of babies being dumped drove them to this somewhat extreme suggestion.... although it still doesn't justify charging the parents for murder

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  9. Sigh, glad it's not entirely true but the situation you describe is disturbing. We have people here in the states who would like to pretend sex does not exist and is something only done in marriage but it's not realistic. They preach abstinance.
    Also not realistic. Sex education does not promote deviance, it promotes responsible sexual behavior and prevents what you wrote here.

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  10. Yup. They can't be hiding stuff from the kids anymore... they will find out.

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  11. Yes, we cannot hide from them what lies within their pants...

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