Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pregnant woman killed by her husband

The most disturbing news my colleague shared with me however was the murder of a pregnant woman by her husband. The woman was three months pregnant and her husband hacked her to pieces with a machete simply because she refused to go and live with his family! Apparently, he also told her that he had come to take what was “rightfully” his and while murdering her removed the foetus from her womb. The woman is the sister of my friend’s colleague and this colleague is the “husband” of the woman I work with who just had her second child (it was her sister-in-law who was murdered).

The case reminds me of the murder in March 2004 of a fourth month pregnant woman in Victoria, my home state. Her husband murdered her with a speargun and four days later murdered their twenty-month-old daughter. He then placed their remains in waste collection bins. Why? Because he was unhappy in his marriage and felt his wife was controlling and moody! Ever heard of divorce!? A forensic psychiatrist described him as socially inept, dependant, passive and a retiring individual who was unable or reluctant to confront problems.

For his crimes, the Victorian man received two life sentences. However, I’m not sure that the Timorese man will even receive one life sentence. The judicial system in Timor is so utterly woeful that the most heinous of crimes often go unpunished or light sentences are meted out. I will be interested to hear of the outcome of this particular case.

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) cites “violence against women [as] one of the crucial mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men”.

As in Timor, as in Australia as in every country in the world; may she and all women murdered by their male partners or relatives rest in peace.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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