Disturbing clip of child abuse re-surfaces on social media

shakeA couple of days ago a link to a very disturbing video popped up on my social media stream. Actually the clip is more than disturbing its horrific. It is unfettered, raw child abuse. The video clip is not “new” this particular incident happened back in 2011.

I am including the video but warn that it is a deeply disturbing and violent clip. Which contains footage of a young woman hitting her small baby. This video is NOT SUITABLE FOR VIEWING BY THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 18. You have been warned.

 

What would make anyone want to behave in this manner towards another human being, let alone their own flesh and blood? What circumstances would push another human being into a corner that they would unleash such rage upon an innocent, defenceless baby? Mental instability and or illness, server depression as a direct result of childbirth and continued familial and social pressure?
And what’s more the reactions from people on-line I found were equally sickening and horrific in their own way.

Cut off the mens balls and burn the bitches tubes. Problem solved. angry-200x300

You are an absolute piece of sh*t, and too call yourself a f**king mother aswell. Why would you even have a child to beat it and do all those horrible things like that to it? I hope you literally get f**king tortured for what you’ve done too that poor baby you f**king shit excuse of a human being. I hope that baby has been put into foster care with people who will treat it properly, and I hope that piece of shit dies in a f**king hell. C**T.

Two questions in my head. The reaction both at the time of abuse and now, has been overwhelming hatred. I understand why.  But how does that help the baby and also the Mother? This young  eighteen year-old comes from an area in Malaysia which is as equally well know or as infamous as Rio De Janerio. According to FMT News January 2014

Rio De Janerio holds the 22nd position on the Crime Index by City, while Petaling Jaya in Malaysia (which has three cities – Johor Baru, Kuching and Kuala Lumpur) sits even higher on the crime index than Rio does.

I can only imagine what this young Mother might have had to face. Even then I doubt if I could truly understand or appreciate the pressures, that these complex challenges might exert, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Secondly if this had been a young Caucasian Mother, would there have been the same level of vitriolic hatred?  Or would there have been more people asking about the circumstances?  Asking where were the social services,the local authorities, why hadn’t their been an intervention before the mother had gotten to this stage of physical violence? Also the video was shot by a concerned friend who had witnessed this young Mother beating her baby the day before. Why didn’t the concerned friend stop her from abusing her child in the first place?

It’s so easy to condemn, demonise and make the mother the sole person at fault. But as we all know things are rarely that simple when you’re dealing with human beings. Of course this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable. Violence towards children should never be tolerated or allowed. But it happens. Who of us who are parents, remember the odd occasions when our precious and most beloved child(ren) have driven us to the point of exasperation and beyond. The majority of parents are able to censor themselves. We have the ability to walk away. To go and scream out of a window or stomp off into another part of the flat or house. Many of us have partners or significant others or extended family, who are happy to takeover when it’s all getting too much. I wonder what did this young Mother have? In Malaysian premarital involvement is culturally, ethically and religiously frowned on, as it runs counter to Malaysian beliefs and attitudes. Families may also view daughters who have participated in premarital sexual activity as humiliating the family. This attitude may also extend to the crime of rape.

I think the way society views rape is still very problematic. There are still a lot of myths which we need to address,”
Lee Wei San assistant programme manager at the
All Women’s Action Society (Awam)  March 2014

I wonder what kind of background this young mother actually came from. Not an excuse but possible contributing factor?

Arjunaidi Mohamed, the chief of police in Petaling Jaya, the mother was 18-years-old when she inflicted the beating on her 10-month-old child in May last year, reported CNN.

He refused to disclose the mother’s name, but said she was convicted of child abuse and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The baby was put into the care of a foster family after her mother’s arrest and is now doing ‘very well,’ said Fatimah Zuraidah Salleh, deputy director of the children division of the Social Welfare Department to CNN.
The court will decide whether the mother, who is due to be released in late November, will be allowed to regain custody of the child.
Daily Mail 11th May 2012

I was unable to ascertain whether this Mother had been allowed to take custody of the child or not.

Justice statue, located at the US Courthouse in Lafayette. Photo- mjecker_flickr2We are so quick to anger and judgement. It is easy from the safety, comfort and relative ease of life in the West. We often forget, that what we have, what we take for granted and bemoan we don’t have enough of; many “ordinary” people around the world, can still only dream of.  To abuse a child is unforgivable. To condemn the Mother without the full facts based on a very emotive and disturbing video (which was made under dubious circumstances in my opinion) and without an overall understanding of the case, is lazy. Other East Asian countries such as Singapore and Indonesia share the same attitudes that Malaysia has towards unwed mothers.
Malaysians afford great consideration and respect to a wedded mothers-to-be. The same cannot be said for those who are unmarried. One could take the view that, this is society’s way of punishing the mother for conceiving outside of wedlock. Because of the deep-rooted religious beliefs in Malaysian society. Families will keep such pregnancies as a tightly guarded family secret. The young woman’s child is often rejected and labelled as “anak haram” which traditionally means forbidden child. Another consequence of such a strong feelings towards unwed mothers is that many Mothers abandon their children. Between 2005 and 2009 (the most current statistics I could find), five percent of young unwed mothers under the age of eighteen abandoned their babies and were convicted of doing so. Young Mothers who experience out-of-wedlock childbirth can be imprisoned for a maximum of ten years and might also be fined up to 20,000 RM (approximately £3,700). The low to middle wage per month in Malaysia is about RM1501-RM3000 (£279-£558).

Despite the disgrace and negative opinion in Malaysian society concerning pregnancy out-of-wedlock, the number of unwed mothers is increasing substantially and is an issue of concern. There were 693 unwed mothers reported giving birth in Kuala Lumpur Hospital from 2009 to July 2010 of whom 96 were teenagers under 18 years (about 14%) (Idris & Abdul Rahman, 2010). From 2000 until July 2008, 257,000 illegitimate children had been registered; and a total of about 10% of all children born in Malaysia were registered as illegitimate in 2010 (“Kaji mekanisme,” 2012; Nasir, 2010).
Nor Jana Saim
Department of Social Work
Umeå University, Sweden
Umeå 2013

It is of course entirely conceivable that there is no rationale. No mitigating circumstances, social or medical in this case and the young woman in question, is just a thoroughly unpleasant human being. Or, she is mentally and emotionally hard-wired in a different way to most “normal” people. It is also equally a possible, that environment, culture, society and giving birth had affected her and thus impacted tragically on how she related to her ten month old baby.

The three-year old video is shocking and disturbing, but the footage does not tell us all.
Mere hate filled condemnation will not prevent or lessen the chances of another young mother behaving in such a manner. It needs more than hate and recrimination to deal with the problems young single mothers might face. It’ll take more than fines and jail sentences to prevent this type of abuse from occurring again. By all accounts the baby was doing well in the care of the foster family into which they were placed. Hopefully the physical wounds have healed and the psychological and mental scars will heal also given time, patience, understanding and love.
What of the Mother? She too is damaged. What help and hope of healing does this young mother have?

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