The situation is somewhat more complicated in developing countries because despite some official figures being released, I suspect that the figures in these countries are higher than what they are or what they are perceived to be because a lot of births go unreported especially in rural areas with little or no medical facilities (95% of infants who are killed before they reach the age of 1 are not born in hospitals).
Now a majority of these infants are killed by their mothers usually in the first week of birth but even if they survive the first week they are still at risk and many are killed before they reach their first birthday by either their fathers or their stepfathers.
Overall the figures are high in both developed and developing countries. While a majority of the infants under the age of 1 or below the age of 1 that are killed in developing countries are female the same cannot be said for infants the same age that are killed in developed countries and in the latter there seems to be no gender preference and if anything it is the reverse i.e. more boys than girls below the age of 1 are killed and it appears to be more prominent in some communities than others and once again I’m not going to pinpoint any community because our objective here is to merely learn more about the crime.
The difference in the gender of infants that are killed in developing countries and developed countries once again suggests that there are different factors that come into play but it would be fair to say or surmise that the inability to provide for oneself or the inability to satisfy the needs of the parents with a child in the family or an additional child in the family would be the prime factor that leads to the killing of infants below the age of 1 in developed countries.
The statistics are high and the figures are there for everyone to see and for those who are keen on finding out what the figures are and other salient features with regards to the killing of infants, the figures are normally tabulated under infant homicides.
In many developing countries female infants below the age of 1 are killed because social norms and cultural commitments place a financial strain on the families and the flow of thought may be that regardless of whether it is right or wrong, we are not judges and nor are we empowered in any way to judge anyone, it is better to kill the child than to let her suffer for the rest of her life or as some may see it or perceive it, the lesser of two evils. These are all signs and symptoms of abject poverty.
Overall the infanticide rates in developed countries seems to be dropping and that’s probably due to concentrated efforts by all parties concerned to stem the tide and the fact that parents with small incomes can still continue to raise their children with some help has played a big part in stopping infant homicides from spiraling out of control.
In addition to socio-economic factors, religion also plays a part and the stigma that is attached to children born out of wedlock doesn’t help matters.
Young unmarried mothers below the age of 19 have the highest propensity to commit infanticide and therefore we are dealing with some very young offenders and most of them are not mature enough to think or to reason and they might not even know where to go for help even if they wanted or needed to.
It is difficult to explain a baby for anyone in their teens and it is even more difficult if the parents come from broken or dysfunctional homes. With infanticide we’ve got to look at all these factors before we make up our minds.
A lot of us are most likely under the impression that a majority of people who commit infanticide are illiterate or don’t know any better or have never got past high school but that is sometimes just not the case.
You’d be surprised at who the offenders sometimes are and they commit the act simply because they want a second chance in life and doing away with the baby gives them the opportunity to do just that.
It’s difficult to point the finger at some of these people and say they’re cold blooded murderers just because they’ve fulfilled all the requirements that criminal law needs to convict for murder i.e. they had the intention to kill and having the intention to kill they went on to commit the act.
Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward