Mr Xerty – Unsplash

A mother in rural Japan north of Tokyo has been arrested for murdering her two children in a bathtub at their home.

The case, making headlines overnight in Japan reports that the woman, in her 30s, killed her two children on November 16th, before she attempted to take her own life using an old-fashioned form of suicide for women, by stabbing herself in the neck.

After recovering from her injuries, Kumiko Fujimaki has now been arrested and will be charged with the murders of her son Kei, aged 4, and her daughter Maria, aged 2, according to local media.

Fujimaki, who lived with her husband and the children’s grandparents at the time of the murders has claimed she doe not remember anything about the incident.

Unfortunately the case is not as rare as it would initially seem, and although the death sentence would be an unusual penalty for the killing of one’s children in Japan, the case hides a sobering fact – that mothers in most countries are more likely to kill their infant children than fathers, although fathers are more often portrayed in the media and society at large as the more violent, and potentially abusive parent.

C: Nathan Dumlao – Unsplash

In Taiwan last week, a woman named Wu was handed the death penalty after she was convicted of murdering her two children.

Of a similar age to Kumiko Fujimaki in Japan, Wu first drugged then strangled her children, again a son and a daughter. The boy was aged 8, the girl 6. Neither name has been released.

It was not the first time she had tried to kill her children. Premeditation was a factor.

Estranged from her former husband, Wu initially appears to have killed the children as an act of revenge against her former husband whom she messaged soon after the killing.

Wu then botched her own suicide attempt using drugs, and when recovered subsequently blamed a lack of support in the raising of her children during the court case, although she did admit to the murders.

Judged to have shown no remorse for actions by the court in New Taipei City, her death sentence was widely welcomed in Taiwan, although there were limited calls for consideration to be given based on the lack of mental health services available to Wu.

Would those calls for understanding have been made if the father had killed the children then texted the mother?

Both cases, whilst unfortunate, however, are more the ‘norm‘, than the exception in filicide cases involving young children.

Statistics show that mothers are more likely to murder their own infants than fathers or male partners.

Figures as high as 71% have been reported to blame the mother for such killings in some countries, albeit with the age of victims a variant, and one study released here in Taiwan in recent years indicated that of more than 1,500 parents studied from over 20 elementary schools, 14.6% of respondents claimed to have had thought of filicide – (murdering their own children) – then suicide in the previous 12 months.

That is a number approaching 1 in 5 of the children you will see on the street today.

These are realities society in Taiwan, and around the world, needs to wake up to, and to address head on.

Give your child a hug people, not a smack.

And if you need help – ask for it. 

Emergency Services In Taiwan
  • 110 – police
  • 119 – fire or ambulance
  • 113 – is the domestic violence hotline – for both sexes – (first response and counseling services)

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