It has been 2 months since I last visited Dahlia and her children. It was during the last visit that Dahlia told me about her daughter’s pregnancy.
The girl, 15, had yet to sit for her PT3. But since her pregnancy wasn’t too obvious yet at that time, she went ahead to school and sat for all her PT3 papers.
During the early stages after being raped, the girl somewhat became rebellious and even tried to run away from home without telling her mother what her problem was. Dahlia suspected something was amiss, but it took her a while before she found out that her daughter was raped by a “friend”. Police reports were made, and fearing the worse, Dahlia brought her daughter to the clinic for tests, and lo and behold, her worse fears came true. The girl was pregnant.
Yesterday I went to visit the family again, to send over some supply of diapers for Dahlia’s 2 youngest children, and to check on how they’re doing, especially the pregnant girl. Frankly, I was expecting her to stay in her room throughout my visit.
But to my surprise, when I arrived, the whole family greeted me, with Dahlia’s 4 younger kids all waiting at the door while Dahlia came out to unlock the gate. They seldom get visitors (almost none at all), so having me visit them at home excited them.
The 15 year old girl stayed on in the living room, together with Dahlia, myself and her other siblings. I think she has trusted me enough by now to know that I was there to support them, not to judge or lecture them.
Both Dahlia and her daughter looked calm despite the problems they are facing. I felt comfortable enough to joke around with them, and it was so good to see the girl’s sweet smile. Dahlia has even planned for the girl’s future, registering her for a skill training course, enabling the girl to get a certificate in 2 years time, which can later on be used to continue her studies to diploma level. The registration will be in December, before the girl delivers, but her course will only start in March next year, ample time to get back into shape after she delivers the baby.
Dahlia’s second child, a 13 year old boy, wasn’t at home when I visited. He went to a kelas mengaji nearby. The boy has been doing very well in school, getting first in class for the recent school exams, and being very active in his school’s co-curricular activities.
Dahlia herself, finding it difficult to get a proper job because she has toddlers at home she needs to take care of, in addition to the fact that no public transport are available at her housing area (the only way is to call a taxi, which she can’t afford to do too often), has resorted to working at home, giving tuition to a few school children. May not be much, but at least she does get some extra income to add to the welfare aid she’s been getting.
By the looks of things, I strongly believe the future of this family is very promising. No doubt when I first got this case, Dahlia felt she and her children had no future. When her daughter was raped, she felt even worse. But all they need is SUPPORT. And that makes a whole world of difference. They look much more empowered now. And with that, comes confidence.