“Nobody came to help”: interviews with women convicted of filicide in Malaysia

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Abstract

Although filicide is of serious concern, it is poorly understood in Malaysia. Our interviews with health and policy professionals revealed that they attribute responsibility for filicide to women’s failure to comply with social norms and religious teachings. This research sought to understand the meaning of and background to filicide from the perspectives of women who have been convicted of filicide in Malaysia. In-depth interviews were conducted in person with all eligible and consenting women convicted of filicide and incarcerated in prisons or forensic psychiatric institutions. Women’s accounts were translated into English and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis and interpreted using narrative theory. Interviews with nine women convicted of filicide yielded evidence that others were implicated in the crime but punished less severely, if at all, and that the women had experienced lifelong gender-based violence and marginalisation with minimal access to health and social care. These findings illuminate an inadequately understood phenomenon in Malaysia and reveal why existing strategies to reduce filicide, which reflect key stakeholders’ views, have had little impact. They reveal the pervasive harm of violence against women and children and its link to filicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Filicide
  • Gendered perspectives
  • Malaysia
  • Violence against women
  • Women in society

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