"My grandfather sexually abused me when I was four. My grandmother caught him in the act but nothing was done. In fact, she told me I was a dirty, disgusting little girl - and I know that afterwards I felt just like that. My grandfather stopped after she caught him, but then my father started at me when I was about seven. Before he had been physically abusive. He used to hit my mother.
"From age seven until about 10 he used to come into my room and touch me. He first started doing it late at night when Mum was in bed asleep. I actually made a complaint to the authorities, through my school when I was 10, but it didn't go anywhere because there was no medical evidence, and from then on Mum started sleeping very badly because she didn't know whether to believe it or not. Mum now says she just didn't know what to believe - and he was a very good liar. He just talked his way out of it, and he'd always claim that I was making things up, so everyone just thought I was. But because Mum wasn't sleeping well, he had to change his pattern.
"When I was 10 he started having sex with me. I think he did it a couple of times a week ... you know, every couple of days. I'd spoken out before and nothing had happened (and he really beat me after that), so from then on, I was too scared to say anything again. I just wanted to run away from it all. But I never did - I was too frightened of what would happen if I did. My dad was always making threats about what would happen to me "out there".
"I think I pretty much lived in terror while all this happened to me. Dad was nearly always in a bad mood - hitting Mum or someone, or smashing up windows. I wasn't allowed to do anything at all - I couln'd do stuff with friends, and very rarely would they be allowed to come to our house. Because of the way my grandmother had reacyted when she caught my grandfather, I think I always knew that what was happening to me was wrong - but what could I do? I just wanted it to stop. I hated it.
"When I was 13, I told a friend. I just needed an outlet. I had to confide in someone, and I didn't wanted to go to the police because I didn't think they'd act. My friend said I should tell the school counsellor and she threatened that if I didn't, she would. Eventually I went and told our counsellor and she called my mum in the next day. From there we went to the hospital where they did examinations and found medical evidence. I was at the police station for eight hours - it was a really overwhelming experience. As far as I knew, I didn't have any rights.
"Mum thew dad out. I don't think she had much choice. She knew it was either the kids or her husband. I've got four younger brothers and sisters. We now think similar things may have happened to my sister. But she has epilepsy and doesn't recall anything, despite evidence she was interfered with.
"The court case was horrific - my dad's solicitor just kept asking me how big my dad's penis was. I answered in the best way I could, but he just kept asking. I was only 13 years old. It was like being traumatised all over again. I had to stand up and tell all these strangers what had happened to me. My dad pleaded guilty to lesser charges, so he only got 18 months. Then, after the court case, I tried to kill myself - I cut my arms and also tried to overdose. I just hated eveything.
"I saw my dad once, a year later, in the area where I live. I was shopping and he was coming down the escalators. I just thought, "No, it can't be him, he's in jail" - but it was him ( he only did 10 months in prison). I ran away, but he chased me around trying to intimidate me. When I was around 16, I became really rebellious. Now that my dad wasn't around I was going to do what I wanted - and nobody was going to tell me otherwise. With boys I think I went the opposite way, I didn't sleep around - but I did have a steady boyfriend for five years, and was sexual with him. On and off over the past 15 years I have been seeing a counsellor. Doing that has definitely helped. Plus, I've been seeing psychiatrist along the way. I don't know whether I'll ever completely heal - there's always something that pops up at different stages in my life.
I've been married for five years and I've got a seven-month-old baby girl. I am surviving, but many don't. We can't keep turning a blind eye and allowing this to happen. I had postnatal depression, which was very tough - and I've since learnt that 70 percent of women who experience postnatal depression have also been victims of abuse. I didn't know that, and I think it would have been a great help if I did, because then I would have expected it. But I'm doing heaps better and I've got a really wonderful husband and baby. The way I see it, I just don't have a father anymore."
"In many ways I had a perfect childhood. My dad was pretty successful, my mum didn't need to work and, as an only child, I suppose I was quite spoilt. From the age of seven I went to a girl's private school, and in the first few years I was in the top three of my class. But when I was 10 years old my father died in a car accident. It was a horrible year after that ... and it only got worse.
"Mom was heartbroken. She had a lot of anxiety attacks and took a lot of medication, and I almost believed har when she said she couldn't live witout dad. I say this because it's so relevant as to why I never told her when I was being abused.
"Mum met Sean about two years after Dad died. I didn't really like him at first - he was a bit creepy - but Mum told me this was a natural feeling and that I was just being protective of Dad. But she said Dad would have wanted her to be happy and Sean made her happy. He didn't have much money, at least not like Mum, and he moved in with us about four months after they met. That's when he started being mean to me.
"I think he always found me a bit of a treat, and whenever Mum wasn't around he'd jab or poke me really hard, and when I'd complain he'd call me a little baby, give me a slap and say, 'Nobody likes a whinger'. He'd say things, such as it was time for me to leave the 'posh school'; that it was costing Mum too much money; and that I was a brat who made Mum's life hell. I think he tormented me enough so that when he began to sexually abused me I no longer had the strength, or the confidence, to tell Mum.
"Then first time he abused me was when I was 13. Mum was in the garden and I was in the shower. He came in and told me I needed a proper clean. He touched me, then after a while, he asked me to clean his penis. I really didn't have a clue what was going on. I just stood there, frozen. Then he told me this had to be our secret, that Mum would be angry with me and get sad if she found out. I remember that part so clearly - him shaking me by the shoulders (I was still naked), and saying, 'You don't want to make your Mum sad again, do you?' I knew she was happy with him, and I hadn't seen her happy in years. So, no, I didn't want to upset her. And I didn't tell her.
"The next year - I was now 14 - he visited me far more frequently in the shower and late at night in bed. Sometimes I'd lock my door, but the next day he'd get really cross and slap me. After about six months he was much more confident hitting me in front of Mum. He'd convinced her I was going through a rebellious stage and that I needed to be "put into line". Gradually I became more and more withdrawn. My studies crashed at school and I became bulimic. He used it all to convince Mum I was unstable.
"The worst night was when I was 15. Mum was away and Sean came home drunk with one of his friends. They both raped me. I just lay there crying, but they kept doing it. What sort of a sick person can watch a child crying and still do that to them?
"When it was over Sean slapped me across the face and said, 'We'll do this again some time'. A few months later I tried to commit suicide - I took a heap of Mum's pills. Even in hospital I couldn't bring myself to tell her.
"A year later, Mum and Sean spilt up. He just left her. It was like the devil was finally out of our house. I've never told Mum what happened. Doctors have told me I should - to fully start the healing - but I just don't see what good it would do. Things were much better once it was just Mum and me. I did better in my HSC, and my eating disorders improved, but it wasn't until I got professional help that I've started to deal with the four years of abuse.
"Even though people consider me attractive, I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 26. Now my relationships are still a bit of a mesds. I'm very wary of men.
"Sometimes I can't believe Mum didn't know, but I don't hold anything against her any longer. I now finally understand that neither of us was responsible. That's very important - I think for a very long time I blamed myself, or Mum, or even Dad for dying. Now I know it was all just one horrible man who invaded my life."
"I don't know how old I was when my father first began sexually abusing me. I blocked a lot out about those years, but now I can look back and recall having baths with him as a little girl. So much of my early memory seems to be of me nude with him. It still makes me feel sick to think about it. Talking about it now just makes me feel disgusting. Really, I only know half of what he did to me.
"I'm from a pretty typical middle-class family. But I don't have any happy memories of my childhood - only of my dad's hands ... always of my dad's roving hands. I can clearly remember that when I was about six he used to come and lie next to me and touch me. He'd pull my pants down, and then masturbate. I didn't understand what was going on .. no, that's not quite right - I thought it was normal. I mean, I didn't like it, and often he would hurt me, but I thought it was normal for your dad to do that sort of stuff.
"My dad was a real control freak around the house and he never paid me any attention. He had a ferocious temper and I was trying to please him. My older brother - there were only two of us - was his favourite.
"He was good at sport and Dad used to always give him surprise gifts and stuff. Dad wanted to have another boy (he often told me that when he was angry), so the only attention I ever got was when he would molest me in bed.
"As a six-year-old I thought this was all I could expect from my father. My mother was never any help - she was away from home for long stretches at a time. Now that I'm older I can honestly say I think she knew, but back then I didn't know that she could - or anyone could - stop what he was doing to me.
"I just thoght that's how fathers were. When I was 10 years old I told my best friend what my dad did. I think I told her something like, 'My father makes me kiss him down there.' She was horrified, and she teased me so much about the incident - it was only then that I realised this wasn't normal.
"I started drinking when "I was about 11. My dad kept raping me until I was about 14. He would come home from work, or the pub, pretty drunk and he'd try to get in bed with me. As I got older I tried to push him away. He'd be really nice to me. He'd talk talk to me and ask me how I was, then he'd say, 'Isn't it time we had a cuddle?. And then he'd rape me.
"I ran away from home when I was 16. I think that really shook my family up. Dad kept up his front of how lovely our little household was, despite Mum being so distant - but one day I was just gone. I ended up living with a guy, David. I was working on the street a bit, not all the time, but probably twice a week. I was also drinking a lot ... no drugs, but I was a heavy drinker.
"At first, David was really good to me - he'd listen to the s**t I'd been through and he promised he'd help me get assistance to stop my dad. But after a while David became abusive as well. It was that old stereotype: Abused people are attracted to abusive people. He was really jealous type and whenever he though I was slipping out of control, he got violent. So in reality, I'd moved from a sexually abusive home to a physically abusive relationship.
"By my 17th birthday I was hardly eating at all. I'd had eating disorders since I was 11, but now it had become really severe. I was trying to kill myself ... but slowly - I hadn't the guts to just end it with a knife or something. My brother found me about 18 months after I left home. I told him the whole story and he was gobsmacked. I don't think he ever knew. I mean, he knew our father was an "a***hole to me, but nothing else.
"My brother's been nice to me. I've been living with him and his girlfriend for the past two years. My brother broke off contact with Dad, and even though he has sent me letting saying how sorry he is, I'm not going to contact him. I just don't think he's a decent human. I don't think he deserves forgiveness.
"My focus now is on getting my life back on track. I've learnt that what my dad did to me had nothing to do with me. It wasn't about sex, it was about control. I was a victim, but I'm determined to be more than that. My dad f%#*ked the first 18 years of my life - I'm going to control the rest of it."
Reported cases on incest in Malaysia since 1998 seem to have decreased. According to figures from Bukit Aman Police Headquarters, 205 cases were reported in 1998 with the highest number of cases in Sabah followed by Selangor and Pahang. In 1999, a total of 184 cases were reported, and the numbers dipped to 136 last year. Although the number of cases recorded seems to show a downward trend, James Nayagam, director of Shelter Home, a foster home for abandoned and abused children, believes otherwise.
"Among the children that came into the Shelter in the past year, 40 percent were reported to have been sexually molested or raped by their fathers, and some by their granfathers. The numbers, in my opinion, are increasing, as there seems to be an easier access to pornography, higher stress levels, and generally more alcohol consumption today, which leads to the unstable mental condition of the perpetrators. Many casese go unreported, and some of the cases which are not filed for lack of physical evidence," he says.
P.S. The Children Project, a project that focuses on sexual abuse on children, explains that child sexual abuse is any act of a person who forces, tricks or threatens a child into having sexual contact with him or her, for his or her sexual gratification.
Says Nayagam: "Generally, there are three main categories in incest cases. First, there's the perpetrator. Unable to deal with his sexual desire, he preys on his own children, feeling as though they owe him something. It's like a habitual gambler. Once he starts, he doesn't stop. Then there's the victim's mother, who is also the co-dependent. Although 90 percent of mothers bring their kids in, there are silent 10 percent who don't. This can be for several reasons. They might not want to shame the family, or they feel that if their husband is charged, then how is the family going to survive with the sole bread-winner in prison. Of course, there are situations where the woman is helpless. There was this one case where the neighbour had reported that the child next door was being molested. When action was taken, the father of the child severyly beat and broke the mother's legs as she had also threatened to report her husband if he didn't stop abusing the child. As sick as this sounds, it happens.
"Third, is the victim itself. This can be broken into two categories, the ones under 10 and the ones above that age. As for the ones below 10, they are completely innocent and don't know that what's being done to them by a close member of the family is wrong. Its easier for these chidren to cope with the trauma, if discovered early. Basically, we help them get over the incident by keeping them busy with other activities. Soon, hopefully, they will move on and forget all about the episode.
"It's the second category of children that are difficult to deal with. These kids need a lot of counselling and guidance. The kids fall under two extremes, as a result. Either the child becomes very reserved and withdrawn, or the complete opposite where she wants sex all the time and is 'easy' with the boys.
"The problem with the society we live in is that incest is something that's hidden in the closet and not brought out into the open. Many of the victims are forced to suffer in silence, as they don't know how to talk about it or to whom. Society itself sometimes can be seen as the cause for this social ill. How many times have you heard or seen a parent telling their young child to give Uncle So-and-so a kiss and if the child refuses, she's reprimanded. In some circumstances the child is blackmailed into giving someone a hug or a kiss in exchange for candy. This can lead to unwanted sexual behaviour."
- By Loshini Catherine John
The Women's Crisis Centre has identified several indications that children show:
Sometimes children may not know how to come up openly and address the problem, but they might give indirect hints such as, "Uncle Jack didn't let me sleep last night" or Daddy's got funny looking underwear."
TAWAU: A five-month-old baby, who was allegedly slammed on the floor repeatedly by his father a week ago, died over the weekend, said Tawau OCPD Asst Comm Kuik Harris Anik. The baby boy succumbed to haemorrhaging at 3.30pm on Saturday, five days after he was admitted unconscious to the paediatric intensive care unit of the district hospital, he added yesterday.
Police have arrested the boy’s father, who is in his 20s, and are investigating the case under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death penalty.
Police sources said the suspect had a quarrel with his wife, whom he suspected of committing adultery, at the house in Balung on April 2.
She then left the house to wash clothes and take a bath at a nearby river.
The man allegedly vented his anger by lifting and slamming the baby five times on the floor and only stopped when he realised that his son was unconscious.
He called his wife back to the house and they took the child to the hospital with the help of a neighbour.
The wife is believed to have sneaked out of the hospital to lodge a police report.
Source: The Star Online, Malaysia. Wednesday, April 10, 2002.
Preventive detention again for child kidnapper
CHILD kidnapper Kenneth Nicholas, who has been in and out of jail for the past 20 years for sexual offences against little girls, was yesterday sentenced to 15 strokes of the cane and the maximum 20 years' preventive detention.
The 48-year-old had kidnapped and molested three girls aged five to nine between May and December last year, shortly after he finished eight years' preventive detention for similar offences.
Preventive detention, a harsher prison sentence meted out to repeat offenders, offers no remission.
Calling his history of preying on young children 'disturbing', District Judge Audrey Lim said: 'It is clear that the previous preventive detention has not deterred him from such heinous activities and he continues to pose a grave threat to the public, especially to young children.'
She added that various psychiatric reports had described how the former cleaning foreman had a personality disorder and an abnormal sex drive directed at pre-adolescent girls.
He kidnapped and molested young girls in 1980, 1986 and 1993.
'It would be appropriate to keep him away for as long as possible,' said the judge.
Nicholas faced six charges of leading or carrying the girls away by force to molest them. He took the youngsters back the following morning.
He took two of the girls to his Pasir Ris flat, where he lives with his widowed mother, and molested one of them on his bed. The third was molested on a public bus.
He also faced one charge of possessing obscene magazines.
Before he was sentenced, Nicholas told the judge that he wished to apologise personally to his victims. But she said there was no need to.
In a last-minute appeal, his mother had written a letter to the court detailing how Nicholas, the youngest of her seven children and a former secondary school prefect, had been abused by her frequently drunk husband.
Though the 70-something woman said she was 'terribly outraged' by her son's acts, she asked for leniency, and added: 'It is my hope that I will be around long enough to see him back as a renewed man.'
After he was sentenced, Nicholas wept and hugged his crying mother, who was in court, before he was led away.
Source: The StraitsTimes Interactive, Singapore. Tuesday, August 13, 2002.
This document was prepared by using information obtained from the Sources listed above. All information contained herein is correct at the time of implementation of this Victims' accounts and its aftermath. Action-aicsa cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracy, omission or alteration that may occur.
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