October 01, 2007 10:34 AM
By Jeswan Kaur
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 (Bernama) -- Does the perpetrator of evil acts have a `face'? This is perhaps what the public wants to know after the Sept 17 incident where little Nurin Jazlin Jazimin's naked body was found stuffed inside a sports bag.
Nurin, 8, who was sexually assaulted died after her intestine ruptured as a result of cucumber and brinjal shoved up her anus. She also had injuries indicating she was strangled.
This is not the first time such brutality has been inflicted upon children.
One prays that it is the last of such cruel acts. Twenty years ago nine-year-old Ang May Hong was raped and strangled barely 70m from her house in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur. Then there was teenage student Audrey Melissa Batinathan who was raped and murdered one morning when she was walking to school in the city. Not long after, the country was shocked by the rape and murder of 10-year-old Nurul Huda Gani in 2004.
The latest case has drawn a host of reaction as to who would execute such a cowardly crime. All said and done, the issue at hand is that evil acts such as these have no face, leaving the bereaved family very frustrated.
To psychiatrists, such cruel acts reflect the work of a mentally ill or sexually disturbed person.
What makes it tough in nabbing such perverts is the absence of a detailed profile, one which could put a `face' to the criminals involved. The perpetrators of the heinous crime against Ang May Hong and Audrey Melissa Batinathan are still out there, having escaped the wrath of the law.
PERVERTS MUST BE DEALT WITH SEVERELY
Chartered psychologist Professor Dr Low Wah Yun of University Malaya's Faculty of Medicine told Bernama those involved in brutal and sexual assault cases suffer from psychological problems, especially a personality disorder.
"It is a myth to believe that the perpetrator is sexually unfulfilled. His motivation is not sex but more of pent-up excessive anger and rage that is expressed sexually.
"It is an act of anger and power and has this anti-social behaviour that motivates him to commit such heinous sexual crime. They gain sexual gratification from such act," she said.
Prof Dr Low said such aggressive men might have a problem dealing with their emotions and feelings and are more vulnerable to stress, i.e. coping with a rejection or a revenge.
"They are not concerned over the consequences of their actions. The bottomline is no matter what problem he may be having, it is not an excuse for him to commit the crime. It is still a crime and the perpetrator has to be punished."
NO ONE TYPICAL PROFILE
Prof Dr Low said it was impossible to single out the perpetrator based on his looks.
"He can be anyone, cutting across all social status, religion, race, age and from different communities. The helpless and vulnerable children and women are their target as these very acts give them a sense of power and control. "These sadistic men may have a very different meaning or concept of masculinity or what it means to be a man, basically one who is in control. And most important to them is getting access to their victims, regardless of whether they are children or adult," she added.
Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta director and senior consultant psychiatrist (forensic) Datuk Dr Suarn Singh told Bernama that it is difficult to speculate what prompts a perpetrator to act in a brutal manner and at the same time profile them.
"In profiling the methodology is important. The Wikipedia defines offender profiling as a method of identifying the perpetrator of a crime based on an analysis of the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was committed.
"Various aspects of the criminal's personality make up are determined from his or her choices before, during and after the crime. This information is combined with other relevant details and physical evidence and then compared with the characteristics of known personality types and mental abnormalities to develop a practical working description of the offender."
SEXUAL MURDERERS ARE LONERS
Dr Suarn said sexual murders were very unusual compared to other forms of homicide.
"Some of the personality types that appeared on literature describing 'sexual murderers' especially of children are as follows, shy, passive individuals with hostility towards girls and preoccupied with extremely sadistic fantasies.
"The family background of these individuals commonly revealed alcohol and drug abuse, family isolation and instability, inconsistent discipline and at times physical and or sexual abuse too. Sexual murderers tend to be loners with poor academic and occupational background," he explained.
He said the sexual murderer is not limited to persons having a particular psychological or psychiatric diagnosis, though anti-social personality appears among these individuals. The other diagnosis is that of sexual sadism.
"However, there are many who qualify for the diagnosis of sexual sadism but who never physically injure anyone. There is no evidence in literature or in my practice that show that perpetrators have a 'fondness' for children or prey on them because of their being 'small in size'.
"I believe it is always more comfortable to give an accurate report on individuals once they are caught and sent in for a detailed assessment. Each case differs as there are many factors that come into play for these offences," he said.
STEPS TO MAKE MALAYSIA CHILD-SAFE
Prior to the Nurin Jazlin's case, two girls were kidnapped and similarly sexually assaulted.
The growing crimes against children has incensed Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. She vowed that no such tragedy would befall another child and drew up several measures to ensure the nation is child-safe.
Among others the public can call the 999 emergency phone line to report cases of sexual abuse. Tracking bracelets will be implemented on sex offenders to monitor their post-release activities. The upgrading of Teledera lines would also be done.
Shahrizat said in the past her Ministry was reluctant to act against errant parents as it was deemed sensitive to get involved in family affairs. However, in view of the recent incidents of missing children and sex crimes committed against children, Shahrizat vowed to be more firm on such issues including taking action against parents who were negligent towards their children.
It is learnt that this worrying development has prompted women's groups to plan programmes to raise awareness among the public on the increasing crimes against children and women.