Addressing Premarital Sex, Ex-nuptial Pregnancy and Infant Abandonment in Malaysia: Opinions of Young People
Keywords:Baby dumping; Ex-nuptial pregnancy; illegitimate child; Infant abandonment; premarital sex.
The triad of social and sexual behaviour; premarital sex, ex-nuptial pregnancy and infant abandonment among young people in Malaysia has become an alarming public issue. Information and evidence to inform effective intervention most often come from others and lack of opinion from young people themselves. This study aimed to explore their opinion on strategies to address this issue. We carried out six focus group discussions comprised of nine to ten young people aged between 18 to 29 years in each group. Their opinions were personal and focused more on microlevel strategies such as the role of friends, parents and family. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis to address this issue including i) the importance of shared responsibilities between the young women, the biological father of the ex-nuptial baby and their parents, ii) the role of peer support, and iii) adherence to religious teaching. However, no common macro-level factors related to the triad such as social and gender disparities, violence against women nor comprehensive sexuality education were discussed. Management of premarital sex, ex-nuptial pregnancy, and infant abandonment should take into account the opinions of the young people which emphasising the shared responsibility, peer support, and religious teaching. The perspective of young people is valuable to curb these social issues.