Mama who killed baby was rape victim, depressed

Posted on October 5, 2012

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The 16-year-old mother in Moalboal town who stabbed dead her infant then tried to commit suicide was a rape victim suffering from depression, a government psychiatrist said yesterday.

“Everybody has a capacity to cope with difficulties. The ability to cope varies in every individual,” said Dr. Robert Cañete, medical specialist of the Vicente Sotto Medical Memorial Center, where the girl  was brought to for examination.

The 16-year-old is confined at the hospital’s female surgical ward due to stab wounds she inflicted on herself last Sunday.

She was reportedly molested by an uncle in Manila and then gave birth to a daughter in March last year.

Cañete, who’s assigned at the hospital’s Center for Behavioral Sciences, said young women with unwanted pregnancies tend to suffer a deep depression that may lead to suicidal tendencies. Cañete said some mothers also experience postpartum depression after giving birth.

“Eventually when she thinks too much of her plight, depression sets in,”said Cañete.

The girl’s mother arrived in Cebu from Manila to take care of the patient in the hospital.

Cañete said initially the teenager was able to cope with her trauma but her feelings of shame and fear of humiliation may have driven her over the edge.

“Her depression developed as time went on. When a person suffers severe depression, his ability to make rational judgement is impaired,” Cañete said.

Emotional support of the family is very important to help the patient cope, he said. With treatment, the doctor said recovery from depression could take three to six months.

He said victims of sexual abuse shouldn’t keep the problem to themselves.  Relatives or caring friends should bring them them to a psychiatrist for counseling./ Correspondent Tweeny M. Malinao

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