Woman lives her life as a man, marries 2 women
Dec 8, 2015 6:00am
Always wanting to be a man, Zunika Ahmad, now 39, accused her body of betraying her when her breasts grew.
So adamant was she to live as a man, she would use men's public toilets, took on jobs where her sex would be kept secret and attached a sex toy to herself whenever she had sex with other women.
She even married two women, keeping her real sex a secret from them. Zunika made it a point to never let them see her naked, even going to the extent of having sex with her first wife only in the dark.
Her secret eventually unraveled after she was arrested on March 25 last year for having a sexual relationship with an underage girl, who was her neighbour.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Singapore, the slim, short-haired woman pleaded guilty in court yesterday to six counts of sexually penetrating the minor and one count of committing an obscene act on her.
Fourteen other charges for similar offences will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Zunika, who addressed the court in a gruff, masculine voice, committed the offences in her flat in north-eastern Singapore between March 16, 2012, and December 2013.
The jobless woman penetrated the girl, who was then between 13 and 14 years old, with items including a sex toy worn around her waist.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Dwayne Lum said Zunika had thought she was a boy before she even started kindergarten.
Quoting a report from psychiatrist Poon Ngar Yee from the Institute of Mental Health, DPP Lum added that Zunika realised for the first time that she was a girl only when she wore her kindergarten uniform - a dress.
Dr Poon also wrote that Zunika would watch her younger sister play with dolls when they were growing up. Zunika was not interested in such girly stuff - she would rather play with a wooden rifle her grandfather made for her and pretended to be Superman.
When she was 12, her body changed.
Zunika had told Dr Poon: "I felt my body was betraying me, how come I develop breast (sic) like my sister."
DPP Lum told Justice Kan Ting Chiu that after her primary education, Zunika chose to attend a secondary school that did not allow girl students to have long hair. By doing so, she could keep her hair short.
SOCKSDPP Lum added: "She had always desired to have a penis. When she was around 17 years of age, she would put socks inside her underwear to pretend it was her 'penis'.
"Since 20 years of age, after she purchased a (sex toy) from the Internet, she had been wearing (the sex toy) all the time."
She also started experiencing pain due to endometriosis, a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of a woman's uterus grows outside of her uterine cavity.
When she was 20, she started taking Depo-provera injections to ease the pain. It is a hormone injection that prevents pregnancy and she later stopped having her periods.
She also took on jobs such as a sales assistant, machine operator or cargo hand. But she would quit once the companies offered her permanent positions to avoid medical check-ups and because she was afraid that others would find out that she is a woman.
Zunika met her first wife in November 2000 and the Singaporean did not suspect that her then "boyfriend" was a woman. Zunika, who is a Singaporean, told the woman that she was an Indonesian man. Dressed as a man, she also gave herself a male name.
Some five months later, the couple started having sex twice a week.
Zunika claimed that according to Batak (an Indonesian ethnic group) culture, the wife should not touch or see the "penis".
She also claimed that she would no longer be able to have an erection and that her penis size would be reduced if the wife touched or laid her eyes on it.
DPP Lum said: "(The wife) also stated that the accused would have sex with her in the dark as well as using a pillow or comforter to cover her view, hence she had never seen the accused's 'penis'."
Seven months into the relationship, the wife had sexual intercourse with a man and got pregnant. She told Zunika that she was the father of the baby without realising that this was an impossible feat.
GODSENTDPP Lum said: "The accused felt that it was godsent news that the wife was pregnant.
"In order for the accused to hide her gender (sic) and marry the woman, the accused obtained a fake passport in Indonesia.
"The accused was legally married to the woman using her fake identity in Indonesia and Singapore."
The couple and the woman's daughter moved into their flat a year later.
In 2007, Zunika met another woman, also a Singaporean, and they got married in Indonesia on Aug 24, 2008.
DPP Lum said: "The accused also told her second wife that under Batak culture, should she touch or see the accused's 'penis', it would not be able to sustain any more."
Zunika's lawyer, Ms N. Sudha Nair, said that the two marriages are now void.
She added: "This was because my client had given inaccurate information when she registered her marriages and same-sex marriages are not recognised in Singapore."
She had always desired to have a penis. When she was around 17 years of age, she would put socks inside her underwear to pretend it was her 'penis'.- Deputy Public Prosecutor Dwayne Lum
'She does not need psychiatric treatment'
In her mitigation, lawyer N. Sudha Nair said that her client, Zunika Ahmad, now 39, feels, behaves and lives like a male.
She told the court yesterday that when Zunika was in secondary school, she told her mother that she wanted to undergo a sex-change operation.
The lawyer added: "However, because of her religious beliefs, Zunika's mother forbade her from undergoing a sex change."
Ms Nair also quoted a letter from psychiatrist Tommy Tan: "Zunika does not require psychiatric treatment.
"The only treatment recommended for her is sex reassignment surgery so that she can continue to live life normally as a male."
Zunika pleaded guilty in court yesterday to six counts of sexually penetrating an underage girl and one count of committing an obscene act on her.
But Dr Tan had stated that Zunika does not have sexual preference for children or young adolescents.
He wrote: "It was incidental that the victim was an adolescent. She did not actively seek out young victims."
There is also a very low risk of her committing the same offences again, said Ms Nair.
She added: "Zunika has expressed that she intends to undergo a gender reassignment procedure after her incarceration so that she can complete her transformation and become a man."