Kuala Lumpur: Three Malaysian women who were caned for having illicit sex have regretted their actions and plan to turn over a new leaf.
The New Straits Times carried interviews with the three women on Friday, a day after the first-ever caning of women triggered protests by human rights and women`s organisations.
The interviews were conducted in Kajang, Selangor state.
Caning as a punishment under the Shariah (Islamic) law was till this incident reserved for Muslim men.
One of them, 25-year-old Ayu (not her real name) said she turned herself in after her daughter turned one last month. She was sentenced the same day and served a month in jail.
She told the paper that she regretted her actions and felt very sad after she realised how much she had hurt her parents.
"On the day I was caned, I was scared but, at the same time, I knew I deserved it and was willing to take the punishment.”
"This punishment is good as in the past, women just received a fine and jail. Now, they are caned as well."
She said it served as a good deterrent.
Ayu said she did what she did because of love and pleasure.
"Those out there who are having sex before marriage should really consider the consequences and not only think about momentary pleasure," she said.
Aishah (not her real name) said she was made pregnant by her boyfriend in April last year.
"I did not tell anyone that I was pregnant, except my boyfriend."
One day at school, she went into labour and lost her baby of seven months.
The 17-year-old married her partner after she told her father about the pregnancy.
Last December, she turned herself in.
"I really regret my actions as I should have married before having sex."
Aishah said she did it for her own enjoyment, not thinking of what could possibly happen. "I cried a lot with regret in my heart and have learnt a great lesson."
"It has made me more mature. I hope my husband and I can now move on with life after we get out of prison in June," she was quoted as saying.
Nor (not her real name), who was the third woman to be caned, said she turned herself in last year.
The 25-year-old said she had to support her family after her father left home six years ago and she met her boyfriend four years ago.
"I got pregnant and gave birth to my daughter three years ago."
However, she said the guilt tormented her and she turned herself in. She received a one-month sentence and six strokes of the cane.
After the caning, she felt a sense of freedom and was happy she could move on with her life.
She now hoped to get married when her partner was released from prison in a few months.